LA Angels' new leadoff man, Taylor Ward, lit the game of baseball on fire Wednesday night. In just his third game batting leadoff (he became the leadoff hitter on Monday), he hit a double, hit a triple, hit a grand slam, and scored four runs. Nobody has ever done this since two-time AL MVP Roger Maris did it on August 3rd, 1958.
Ward and Maris are the only two to do this in the modern era. The best part about Ward's night was that these three hits and runs he scored were by no means the end of the story. He walked too, and also of course drove in four runs with his second-inning grand slam. Leadoff hitters aren't supposed to drive in four runs in one game.
Ward was already on a tear coming into this game. He was three for eight with three runs, three RBIs, and two homers in his first two days leading off. Do the math--he's now 6 for 12 with seven runs, seven RBIs, and three home runs in three games. He's been arguably the best hitter on the Angels this year.
Taylor Ward is a major reason the LA Angels are in first place this season.
The LA Angels would likely not be 12-7 and in first place of the AL West if Taylor Ward wasn't playing this way. He leads the Halos in walk percentage (22.4%), batting average (.395), on-base percentage (.531), slugging percentage (.816), and wRC+ (285).
While many were expecting this year's breakout player for the Angels to be Anthony Rendon, he has got off to a slow start offensively. It's still early, so don't count him out. It's worth noting, however, because it appears that the Halos still have a third position player who can rake at a high level in Ward--even if Rendon continues to struggle (.228 BA, .386 SLG).