Jared Walsh is playing his way into a bigger role with the Los Angeles Angels.
While the Angels are showing some signs of life in the postseason race, one player, in particular, is having a huge month in September. Jared Walsh making his case to be the starting first basemen next season should he continue this type of success.
After struggling throughout the month of August, but since flipping the page to September, he’s seemed to have found his groove in his second season in the big leagues. Walsh has been on a tear as of late, hitting four home runs with a slash line of .379/.387/.862 in the last seven games. A late draft pick after the Angels selected him in the 39th round of the 2015 MLB draft, Walsh been battling and showing the Angels that he belongs on the team.
With some of his playing time being cut due to other first base options such as Albert Pujols and Matt Thaiss, he seems to be having a more established role which may result in the increase in his numbers.
In an article by Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com, Joe Maddon accredited Walsh on his performance of late.
"“The way he works the end of the bat is honestly an elite method, as far as I’m concerned. When he came up the first time, I don’t know, just a little uncomfortable. He was not himself in a sense. He was nervous, it seemed. And all of a sudden, he comes back and chills out, he’s going up there and he’s doing what he does during batting practice.”"
That kind of talk coming from your manager should help in making sure that Walsh stays producing at the Major League level and taking the weight off his shoulders in terms of competing for playing time. He may have just needed confidence in himself and the Angels could definitely need his type of offense and production at the plate given the lack of production from Pujols and Thaiss.
With next year being the final season of Pujols’s mega-contract of 10 years/$240 million, the Angels don’t have a solid answer for the position except for either Thaiss or Walsh. This means that unless something drastic happens like a signing or trade, then Walsh can definitely put himself in a good position to succeed the Hall of Famer.
Of course, the numbers he’s produced in September are a small sample size, but the power has always seemed to be there from the beginning. He hit 36 home runs in 98 games when he was at Triple-A Salt Lake last year, and you can’t teach power no matter what level, so if he can stay consistent when hitting at the plate, then the power will certainly follow and the home runs will increase.
Jared Walsh is finding his groove in this short season in the month of September so far, and if he continues this into the end of the season, then he should be a big reason to get excited for the Angels at first base.