LA Angels 2021 spring training guide: future is bright for Halos outfield
Taylor Ward OF/C
Ward was drafted by the Angels as a catcher back in 2015, and was known more for his defense behind the plate with the hopes of his bat to develop over time. Unfortunately, his offense never came to be, so the Angels shifted him into the outfield to help get his offensive numbers up. It worked well enough to find him some time in an Angels uniform as he platooned the outfield for them in 2018. He also saw some time at third and first base. Now, he’s looking to be ousted from the outfield and is trying to get some time at catcher once again.
With the amount of outfield depth the Angels have, this means that one player will be the odd man out, and that’s Taylor Ward.
The last time Ward fully caught in the Angels system was in 2017 when he bounced between two minor league teams. He had 557 innings total behind the plate with a fielding percentage of .989. Ward also had a caught stealing rate of 28 percent. His offense did improve when he transitioned from behind the plate to the outfield. In 2018 he slashed .349/.446/.531 and posted a .277/.333/.383 line in 2020. This shows that the move to the outfield benefited his offensive numbers.
Personally, evaluating a catcher can be a bit tricky because there’s so much that goes into the position itself that sometimes it’s okay to excuse a lack of offense from behind the plate. Either way, Ward will be moving from the outfield to back behind the plate, and the Angels will be hoping he can find his success there as he had in college and the minors.