The 2022 season, like the previous eight seasons prior, ended in disappointment for the Los Angeles Angels. It started out great, as they were at one point 10 games over .500. Injuries occurred, Joe Maddon was fired, and the team collapsed.
2023 figures to be a better year. The Angels have addressed their biggest issues from the 2022 campaign like infield depth, another big-time starter, and a corner outfielder.
This past season did not go as we had hoped, but there were still some bright spots. Let's look at some of the best things to happen to the LA Angels in 2022.
3) Taylor Ward had a breakout season and looks like a star
Taylor Ward was nothing more than a bench player who could hit a bit and play a bunch of positions. He was coming off his best season after posting a 107 OPS+ in 65 games. Despite that promising campaign, Ward did not have a starting job locked up and didn't even appear in a game until the ninth game of the season.
Ward had two hits in three at-bats including a homer and he walked twice. From that moment on, he had a starting job and ran with it.
Ward slashed .281/.360/.473 with 23 home runs and 65 RBI in 135 games. Ward's numbers would probably have been even better had he not missed time due to injury and struggled when he returned from it.
He had 3.8 fWAR, the same as Juan Soto, despite playing in 21 fewer games than him. He had a 137 WRC+, better than players like Alex Bregman, Xander Bogaerts, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Simply put, he had a monster year offensively.
I expect Ward to be even better in 2023 as he'll hopefully stay healthy. He ended the season strong and had very strong peripherals to back it up.