The Nice List, Angels style. Who made the cut?
#2 – Taylor Ward
Most Angel fans do not have a high opinion of Taylor Ward and it is understandable as he has yet to reach his potential as a first round draft pick in 2015 out of Fresno State. Two years ago he switched from catcher to third base and had a tremendous year in Triple-A which gained him his first call-up at the end of the 2018 season where Ward hit six homers and drove in 15 runs in 40 games and a .178 batting average. Last season he only received 42 at-bats getting eight hits with a homer and two RBIs.
He has now been playing a lot of left field and could make a bid to make the Angels as a utility man in 2020. So you might ask why I like Ward so much. In 2016 I went down to Inland Empire numerous times to cover Angel pitchers doing rehab assignments and since Ward was still a catcher at that time I always interviewed him to find out how the Angel pitcher’s stuff looked. He was always very honest and genuine as well as friendly.
Ward never made you feel like you were bothering him and he always had a smile on his face when we were talking about baseball. I told him I would see him in two years in Anaheim and lo and behold he was called up two years later. When I came into the Angel dugout one afternoon and came up behind he turned around and got a huge smile on his face and said ‘How are you doing’ and shook my hand. We talked for a few minutes informally about his time in the majors thus far.
Later that month I came to interview him and I asked him if he had time to be interview. Ward said, ‘Sure always for you, what do you need’. Ward spent about 10 minutes talking to me and was just as gracious and genuine as always.
Flash-Forward to September of this past season. Ward had a tough season only getting called up for five games all season before September. He was 1 for 10 at that point. Ward was just as gracious and as open about his season’s frustrations. But he was the first to admit ‘I still have some things to work on which is why I haven’t been called up yet. I’m going to continue to work hard all the off-season to get better’.
I am truly hoping Ward will get an opportunity this season to prove himself, but I also know the odds are stacked against him. No matter what happens Taylor Ward is someone who I will always think highly of for his kindness, grace, and honesty.