When the LA Angels drafted Taylor Ward in the first round, former general manager had added a defensive-minded backstop to the Halos organization.
However, after the LA Angels and Jerry Dipoto split up, Billy Eppler took over. He quickly did what it is Billy Eppler does and made the catcher into a multi-positional player, initially moving Ward to third base. This move led to a breakout offensively for Ward, but his bat has since stagnated.
Ward is capable of playing the infield corners and outfield corners. He is most suited for third base, but Eppler has continued to develop him at each spot in hopes of increasing his organizational value. However, that same value translates to the trade market, where Ward may be best utilized for the Angels.
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I am not writing this saying that Taylor Ward is a bust of a prospect. He is still just 26-years old, and has found success in the minor leagues. All I’m saying is that given the Angels’ organizational build, Ward is expendable and could help the Angels find help in a position of need.
Let me break this down. In the majors, the Angels have Anthony Rendon, Tommy La Stella, David Fletcher, Justin Upton, Brian Goodwin, (probably) Matt Thaiss, and either Michael Hermosillo or Jo Adell capable of playing the positions Ward does. That’s more than enough talent. In their farm system, they have a plethora of outfield talent while their infielders are still a few years away, but offer huge upside.
We saw this last season. The Angels called up a handful of prospects to fill in holes before they gave Ward a real chance in the MLB. That will be the same case this year, and Ward’s service time will continue to burn away in the minor leagues.
That is why trading him makes sense. Even if the return is a low-level prospect or a one-year rental, there is no role for Taylor Ward with the LA Angels. They need to cut bait now, even if it turns out Ward is simply a late bloomer.
The Angels are in win-now mode, and it’d be extremely smart of Billy Eppler to see if he can find any return for Taylor Ward that will help the Angels’ 2020 playoff chances.