Despite making a name for himself in the Angels minor league system, Taylor Ward struggled in his first two seasons in the big leagues. Spending the majority of his time at third base, Ward compiled an abysmal slash line of .181/.256/.333.
The Angels made it clear their confidence in Ward was low. During the 2019-2020 Toffseason, They signed All-Star Anthony Rendon to a seven-year/$245 million contract, effectively closing the book on Ward’s chances at starting at the hot corner for the foreseeable future. If he wanted a chance at starting, he would require a position change.
Prior to spring training in 2020, the Angels floated the idea of having Ward return to his original position of catcher. However, they seemed to abandon the project soon after, whether it was due to the COVID shutdown or otherwise. That left Ward with few options, and he found himself fighting for a spot as the team’s fourth outfielder.
Taylor Ward has shown signs of being a starter in the Angels outfield next season.
He made the team out of spring training but had to claw his way for playing time, as he had to compete with Upton, Brian Goodwin, and Jo Adell for the two corner spots. In his limited chances, he struggled, hitting .188/.235/.188 through seven games in July, and .111/.200/.222 through seven games in August.
When Goodwin was traded before last season’s deadline and Adell also struggling, something lit a fire under Ward, as his path to a starting job became more clear. In September and October, he won the starting right field job away from Adell as the Halos made a playoff push. Although the team came up just short of the postseason, in that span, he hit .350/.400/.483 in 20 games.
With Ward’s late-season success, and Angel’s manager Joe Maddon already going on the record to say that Adell will start the season in the minors, it looks like Ward is the clear-cut favorite to be the Angels opening day right fielder. However, that may not be the case.