With the Angels within striking distance of the playoffs near the end of the 2020 season, they benched a struggling Adell for Taylor Ward, who was fairly solid, slashing .350/.400/.483 over the final two months of the season.
Regardless of his performance, due to the small sample size and lack of power production (0 home runs in 2020), the Angels are not relying on Ward to headline the position on the depth chart. Not only have they brought in a few additional outfielders, but they’ve also begun working Ward out as a catcher, to add to his versatility.
The position is not new to the 27-year-old, as he began his minor league career behind the dish. He later moved to third base, which the Angels credit as a factor in improving his offensive output. Ward then moved again to the outfield after the Angels signed Anthony Rendon. The Angels trying Ward out as a catcher suggests his days as the everyday starting right fielder are behind him.
Taylor Ward will be used as a super utility player for the Angels this season.
As it stands, the Angels will start Max Stassi at catcher, with veteran Kurt Suzuki as the backup. Maddon has used three catchers on his depth chart before, so it’s possible Ward is kept on the Opening Day roster as a utility player for behind the plate and in the outfield as needed.
That is unless Ward has something to say about it. If Ward can prove this spring that his late-season hot streak wasn’t a fluke and that he is capable of extra-base production, he might have an excellent chance to reclaim the starting spot. He’s done it once, and there’s no reason to believe he can’t do it again.