One player the Angels desperately need to get back on track

Kansas City Royals v Los Angeles Angels
Kansas City Royals v Los Angeles Angels / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages

Is it time to hit the panic button? No, but Phil Nevin made a move that the Los Angeles Angels had to make. Taylor Ward is no longer the leadoff hitter. It had been his spot all season long, but Zach Neto lead off yesterday's game in Milwaukee, and after reaching base three times and continuing to look like a polished and disciplined hitter at the plate, I can't imagine he'll give that spot up anytime soon.

Taylor Ward was one of the few bright spots on the 2022 team. His breakout had me and other fans thinking he'd be an all-star and potentially receive MVP votes. He had the perfect spot in the order, hitting in front of Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. Yet, after an excellent Spring Training and a solid start to the season, Ward has been mired in a massive slump.

If the Angels want to win this season, they desperately need Taylor Ward to bounce back from this awful slump.

LA Angels outfielder Taylor Ward needs to turn his season around

Taylor Ward was one of the Angels' best players in Spring Training. He hit four home runs and had a 1.000 OPS. He remained hot in the regular season, as he recorded two three-hit games in Oakland in the first series of the season. He had ten hits in his first 23 at-bats through the first five games of the season including two home runs and six RBI. Things have gone incredibly downhill since.

In the 23 games he's appeared in since that nice start, Ward is slashing .145/.280/.193 with one home run and four RBI. He's still walking a decent amount which is a good sign, but he has not been hitting at all.

After going hitless in four at-bats with two strikeouts in his first game in the seven-hole, Ward now has one hit in his last 14 at-bats and just looks lost at the plate. Benching him sounds like the right decision, but I don't think that should be the course of action. The Angels need him, and they need him to hit.

In the games Taylor Ward has a hit in, the team is 10-4. This means they're 4-10 in games he does not get a hit in, considering their record is currently 14-14. They're 4-2 when he records an RBI, and 3-0 when he hits a home run. When Ward is productive, they win. When he isn't they lose.

This team is built around Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, but the Angels need production from their other players as well. Hunter Renfroe has been great all season long. Other than him, it's been hard to find a consistent producer. Ward was supposed to be that third guy, the best player not named Trout and Ohtani. He has not been anything close to that.

Hopefully a move to the lower part of the order serves as a wake-up call. If the Angels have any hope in reaching their goal of getting back to the postseason and making a run, they need Taylor Ward to be the 2022 version of himself. When he does something offensively, the team wins.

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