So far this offseason, LA Angels' Manager Joe Maddon has looked like a genius due to his coaching decisions surrounding Halo outfielder Taylor Ward. First, his decisions to platoon Ward a healthy amount in the outfield have been very fruitful.
Ward is hitting .353/.500/.647 (1.147 OPS) on the year, while also smoking three bombs and scoring nine runs in 10 games. His 241 OPS+ highlights just how strong of a start he's got off to in 2022. Maddon already proved to do a great job with Ward this season, but took that a step forward on Monday.
He batted him leadoff. Ward responded in pretty dominant fashion. He decided to drive in three runs as a LEADOFF hitter. The leadoff man is not supposed to have three RBIs in a game. Okay, maybe if it was Shohei Ohtani batting leadoff, we could believe it. Ward channeled his inner-Ohtani in his new opportunity to bat leadoff, though.
Taylor Ward hit two home runs from the leadoff spot for the LA Angels on Monday.
Taylor Ward took Cleveland Ace Shane Bieber deep twice in his two for four day for the LA Angels. He not only hit the expectations Maddon believed in him to have on Monday, but surpassed them in terrific fashion. He even did it with a home plate umpire trying to screw him over on the at-bat of the first homer:
Ward hit leadoff the next night too, and got a hit in that game as well. Scoring a run, he's scored thrice in two games in the leadoff spot and went three for eight. He's hot, and very well may stay there.
Maddon has tried interesting leadoff moves in the past such as moving Justin Upton up there last year, and Anthony Rizzo when Maddon was with the Cubs. Those moves worked out perfectly, and this one has to. Now, Ohtani has the chance to drive Ward in from the two spot, or set the table for Mike Trout to knock both of them in from the three-hole. Angels fans remain thankful that Maddon is their manager.