In a season full of more lows than highs, the Los Angeles Angels got an outstanding season out of Taylor Ward. The adjustments he made with new Angels coach Trent Woodward worked wonders for him, and he's now a staple in the Angels lineup in 2023, and hopefully beyond.
Ward is set to be the left fielder and bat leadoff for an Angels team vying for their first playoff appearance since 2014. A lot of pressure rests on the shoulders of players like Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, but the guy hitting in front of them has a very important job to do as well.
Taylor Ward should be even better than he was in 2022 considering his metrics all backed up his elite production offensively, and he will (hopefully) avoid injury. He should have one specific goal in mind.
Angels outfielder Taylor Ward should aim to score 100+ runs in 2023
Hitting leadoff in front of arguably the two best players in the game is a tremendous opportunity. The Angels don't have a player more suited than Ward for this role, and I expect the 29-year-old to have his best season yet.
Armed with elite plate vision, Ward drew walks at a high clip last season, walking at a 10.6% rate, which ranked in the 79th percentile according to baseball savant. It's possible (assuming Trout and Ohtani actually stay on the field) that this number goes down considering pitchers won't want there to be a base runner on in front of them, but that means Ward should get pitches to hit.
Last season in 135 games (many of which he was bothered by his injury), Ward slashed .281/.360/.473 with 23 home runs and 65 RBI. He scored 73 runs on an Angels team that won just 73 games and was 25th in runs scored.
If Ward does stay healthy, and the rest of his teammates stay relatively healthy, the Angels have already shown the potential they have to be an elite offense. They've added players like Hunter Renfroe, Gio Urshela and Brandon Drury to replace below-average MLB hitters. You'd think Ward with his on-base ability plus the improved lineup he'd be able to score 100 runs with ease.
Health is obviously a concern for everyone, but I really think this is an attainable goal for Ward and one he should strive for.