Angels Roster Takeaways: Taylor Ward makes the roster
As I eluded to earlier, Joe Maddon is a manager that greatly values flexibility on his roster. We saw it for years with guys like Ben Zobrist, Sean Rodriguez, and more.
Could Taylor Ward be the next super-utility piece for Maddon?
Ward’s inclusion on the roster was a bit of a surprise, in that the Angels already had a fairly full outfield with Trout, Brian Goodwin, Justin Upton, and Michael Hermosillo already holding down spots and top prospect Jo Adell lingering on the periphery. That would seem to be an uphill battle for Ward on this year’s roster, especially after two disappointing seasons under his belt.
In parts of two major league seasons, Ward has appeared in 60 games and put up an uninspiring .181/.256/.333 batting line. While he has shown power in the minors, he has yet to tap into that in the major leagues and has been prone to strikeouts (39.1%).
However, the aforementioned flexibility plays a big part here, and Ward’s ability to not only play the outfield but also don the catching gear certainly played a big part in his inclusion. The Angels are currently carrying just two catchers, Max Stassi and Jason Castro, so Ward will serve as a third catcher in a season where that will be incredibly valued.
Ward’s initial inclusion seems to play into the team’s busy opening schedule. The Angels play ten-straight days to start the season and have only two off days through the end of August. However, as the season moves on, and off days become more plentiful, Ward’s roster spot feels like a vulnerable one when the rosters have to shrink to 28 and 26 players respectively.