LA Angels GM points to Walsh as potential piece in 2019

General Manager Billy Eppler, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)
General Manager Billy Eppler, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images) /

Jared Walsh, as you know, is my favorite prospect within the LA Angels system. He’s easily the most underrated athlete within the Angels system and should very well rank within their Top 10 Prospects. With recent news that Angels GM Billy Eppler named Walsh as an internal option regarding offensive upgrades in 2019 it seems he may finally get his due. What makes Walsh so standout, and what exactly can he offer the big league club in 2019?

Jared Walsh is hands down one of the best prospects in the LA Angels system. He should be ranking up there with Jahmai Jones and Brandon Marsh among others as the next biggest things on the Angels, but he’s not. Why is that? Well that “why” doesn’t matter now that Billy Eppler has pegged him as bringing value to the club in 2019. It’s not hard to see why Eppler has the opinion that he can be a valuable piece in 2019 when you gloss over Walshes 2018 MiLB season.

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Walsh started the 2018 season in Class A Advanced with the Inland Empire 66ers and absolutely destroyed the Cal League with a league leading 13 HR’s before his callup to Double A in late May. During his time with the 66ers he mashed a wild .969 OPS in 40 games while cementing himself as the premier piece of that 66ers team. His defensive prowess was far beyond that of the average Minor Leaguer, his hitting was Major League quality, there really was no reason for him to sit in Class A any longer than he needed to.

His time in Double A and Triple A was a lot of the same. Walsh posted a .289/.382/.537 slash in Double A and a .270/.333/.478 line with Triple A. This success is hugely in part to Walshes A+ ability to make contact with the ball from both sides of the plate and find his pitch to settle on. His power is as smooth as they come, he has one of the more graceful swings around the Angels system. Walsh displays a booming power as a lefty and likewise displays power to all sides of the field. I was lucky enough to watch a game in Class A Advanced in which Walsh hit a bomb to tight right field and subsequently laced a bomb right down the left field line.  That kind of pole-to-pole power isn’t something you see all too often, especially when you get down to the Minors. If you do see it in the Minors I guarantee it isn’t as graceful as Walshes production.

So you can clearly see why Billy Eppler feels so strongly about staying internal with offensive upgrades for 2019. That isn’t where Walshes value ends however. Interestingly enough, Jared Walsh was invited to the Angels fall instructionals to work out his pitching. That’s right, Jared Walsh has a little extra talent on the mound side of the game. Walsh pitched 8.2 innings throughout the Angels system this year and posted a 1.59 ERA in that time. He actually had scoreless trips through Double A (0 ER in 2IP) and Triple A (0 ER in 1.2 IP), but it was his 4.50 ERA in 2 IP that bumped his ERA.

As a pitcher, Walsh can hit 94 mph with his fastball, and that’s purely on raw work, with instruction who knows what he can achieve. His Triple A catcher Joe Hudson seriously believes in Walshes ability, pointing to his curveball as being a legit MLB pitch. Walsh is a lefty on the mound which adds even more value to his pitching potential.

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Walsh can definitely ascend the “position player pitching” role and become an actual bullpen option. His option may be limited to lefty specialist or mop-up, but at best he can get Major League outs and at the end of the day that’s all the value that’s needed.

Imagine that, Jared Walsh coming up with the Angels as a power-hitting lefty who can drive the ball with serious authority while providing plus-plus defense at first. Walsh also plays Right Field and logged 212 innings in that spot in Triple A, but that was mostly due to the presence of 1B Matt Thaiss. Regardless, Walsh provides value all over the field, from the batters box to the mound to defensively at 1B and RF. It’s really stunning how much value he can provide.

Billy Eppler is recognizing that and has him pegged for a potential future spot with the Big League Club. It’s exciting times for the Angels, there’s more talent coming up in this ball club than ever before. It’s going to be a fun team to watch, and fingers crossed, a winning one at that.