LA Angels News

LA Angels Top 25 Prospects: #7 Jared Walsh

By Ryan Falla
ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 30: Taylor Ward #3 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is congratulated by teammate Shohei Ohtani #17 in dugout after Ward hit a walk-off home run during the ninth inning of the the MLB game against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium on September 30, 2018 in Anaheim, California. The Angels defeated the Athletics 5-4. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 30: Taylor Ward #3 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is congratulated by teammate Shohei Ohtani #17 in dugout after Ward hit a walk-off home run during the ninth inning of the the MLB game against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium on September 30, 2018 in Anaheim, California. The Angels defeated the Athletics 5-4. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images) /
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The LA Angels drafted First-Baseman Jared Walsh in the 2015 draft and since then he’s been proving himself to be one of the best power hitting prospects in the Angels system. After a breakout year in 2018 that saw him hit .299 with 29 HR’s through three levels of the Angels minor league system it’s finally time to recognize Walsh as the most underrated talent in the Angels system.

LA Angels prospect Jared Walsh has one of the most graceful looking swings you’ll see from an Angels prospect. It is typically said that left-handed hitters have some of the most natural swings you’ll see, and on that note Walsh has one of the better left-handed swings you’ll see from a prospect. It’s fluid and easy-going while cutting right through the zone with little fat. The power that is produced off of the swing of Jared Walsh is awe-inspiring, he can pepper all parts of the field and has viable power from the left field foul pole all the way to the rightmost pole. He’s as natural a #3 hitter as they come, with his ability to power the ball and produce RBI’s is something that will always keep him in a Major League lineup.

Jared Walsh (1B/RF)

Drafted 2015 – 39th Round (#1,185)

Bats/Throws: L/L

The drawbacks to his plate approach are his tendency to expand his own zone. He does have a good approach that allows him to work the pitch count and collect walks, though he does allow pitchers to make him open up, especially with two strikes. On the year Walsh had 154 strikeouts, which is the biggest need regarding cleaning up his approach. His two-strike approach is something that needs refinement before he can find true success because that tendency can trap him into a slump. It should be noted that while Walsh has seen himself fall into a slump or two he is very capable of breaking out of it in massive ways.

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Walsh is the kind of hitter that, when everything is on he will absolutely abuse pitchers. When he’s cold he’ll suffer badly at the plate, but again that’s in relation to his two-strike approach. Near the end of the year, as Walsh climbed through Double A and Triple A, he leveled-out his approach pretty decently and reduced his slumping significantly. If he can maintain a leveled out approach at the plate there is a world of success waiting for him.

Defensively there is a lot to love about Walsh. His versatility allows him to play both 1B and outfield, all in all Walsh logged 592.0 innings at 1B and 381.0 in the outfield (254.0 in RF). Walsh is a stalwart 1B thanks to fantastic footwork and A+ reflexes. His range allows him to comfortably defend the line and the hole simultaneously. In the outfield there is a solid sense of range and speed, in Right Field he can reliably range on a ball and overall can defend at an average clip at the very least.

One of the things that Walsh has going for him is his incredible offerings of value. Not only can he smash at the plate and put up a wall defensively, he also has the ability to get outs from the bullpen. While he only pitched 5.2 innings out of the pen in 2018 the Angels liked enough of what they saw to invite him to instructionals to work out his pitching. On the mound Walsh can pepper the zone with a 94mph fastball while sporting a reliable curveball, both which still have plenty of room to grow. He finished the 2018 with 7 K’s and one earned run in those 5.2 IP for he Angels.

There is an incredible amount of potential to be tapped into with Jared Walsh. As a pitcher he’s still in raw form yet he can still paint the zone with a 94mph fastball. Depending on how well his time in instructionals work out there is a very solid chance Walsh can add value as a LOOGY (left-handed one out guy) out of the pen. That’s some wild value right there, being able to smash home runs, save runs defensively, and get outs from the pen.

While I’m not trying to paint him as a Shohei Ohtani 2.0 there is a great chance he can work as a two-way guy from the Angels. Especially with the team embracing a new analytical fore-front there is just too much opportunity for a 94mph throwing lefty to not be used out of the bullpen. He likely won’t be a regular bullpen worker, but even just one appearance every so often, even for strict left-handed outs, opens up a new world of opportunity for both the Angels and baseball.

If Jared Walsh can reliable do all three of these, hit/pitch/defend, he will open up the rest of baseballs eyes to the future that is two-way values. Walsh isn’t a Shohei Ohtani 2.0, and that’s precisely what makes him so great. He’s realistic. Walsh isn’t going to be the next Babe Ruth, but what he can be is a 25 HR hitting, Gold Glove defending LOOGY. That’s the kind of value that will perk up other teams ears and make them look into the possibility of them extracting the same value from their own prospects.

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Jared Walsh, all-in-all, could very well help the Angels with their pioneering of the two-way player. His value is very grounded despite sounded like a dream-world. There is a very real chance that he can help the Angels continue the path they started with Shohei Ohtani. The two-way value player. All eyes will be on Walsh as he makes his way to the Major Leagues because there is a very real chance he can be special guy for the Angels roster.

Developmental Needs: Two-Strike Approach, Patience

Best Tools: Power Swing, Defense, Versatility, Raw Pitching Potential, Clutch, Leadership

MLB ETA: 2019

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