LA Angels News

Jared Walsh’s Debut Marks New Era for LA Angels and MLB

By Vincent Page
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 13: Tommy La Stella #9 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim celebrates a solo home run against the Minnesota Twins during the sixth inning of the game on May 13, 2019 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Angels defeated the Twins 5-4. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 13: Tommy La Stella #9 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim celebrates a solo home run against the Minnesota Twins during the sixth inning of the game on May 13, 2019 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Angels defeated the Twins 5-4. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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Late on Tuesday night, the LA Angels took a big step towards their future.

What may seem like a typical roster move, the LA Angels sent first baseman Justin Bour down to AAA, calling up Jared Walsh in his place. Walsh is not on the 40-man roster, so one more move will have to be made.

This was a huge step towards the future for the Angels, Walsh, and the MLB as a whole.

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First, let’s start with how this signifies a change for the Angels. Flashback five years, and the Angels have the worst farm system in baseball (maybe ever). In comes Billy Eppler to reignite the farm, and when doing so he placed a focus on versatility.

Walsh is the epitome of versatility. The left fielder/first baseman doubles as a relief pitcher. Walsh has excelled at each in AAA this season. A .302 average at the plate and ten home runs definitely passes the test. A 3.60 ERA in five appearances is equally encouraging, especially considering the reputation the Pacific Coast League has as a hitters’ league.

We have seen the farm system start to reap rewards this season (Luis Rengifo, Griffin Canning), and sending down Bour to call up Walsh is just another sign that the youth movement in Anaheim has officially begun.

For Walsh, just like any prospect, this is the first time he’ll reach his goal of being an MLB player. While we still aren’t sure whether he’ll be used as a pitcher or strictly as a hitter, this is an accomplishment in and of itself.

For the MLB, Walsh’s debut in the big leagues is historic. No, it isn’t as monumental as Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s debut, at least not for the same reason. While he isn’t a top prospect, Walsh is ushering in a new era of the MLB, where hitters pitch and pitchers hit.

We have seen this recently, even in Anaheim with Shohei Ohtani. Two-way players are becoming more and more of a legitimate option.

However, assuming he pitches and hits, Walsh will be the only two-way reliever in baseball. If his time in the big leagues is effective and/or proves to show potential, more and more MLB teams could start prioritizing two-way players like Eppler and the Angels have in years past.

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The announcement of Jared Walsh being called up to the big leagues deserves much more attention than it got last night, when the majority of the United States was asleep.

This is a move that has the potential for league-wide change. If Walsh and the Angels succeed, the copy cat MLB will follow shortly behind.

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