Angels’ top draft pick Taylor Ward is making a name for himself, gets invite to big league camp
It isn’t exactly unheard of for a first-round draft pick to be invited to big league spring training camp. It gives coaches a chance to get an up-close and personal look at their newest top prospect. However, in the case of the Los Angeles Angels’ top draft pick in the 2015 amateur draft Taylor Ward, he has certainly earned his spot with the team in Tempe this spring.
Ward was, at first an unpopular pick by the Angels, at least according to both analysts and fans. A then 21-year-old catcher out of Fresno State University, Ward was predicted to go anywhere in the third through fifth rounds of the draft and had been ranked number 70 by Baseball America and number 99 on the Draft Top 200 list by MLB.com.
The Angels signed Ward to a $1.6 million contract, a number just below his slot value of $2 million, and again were criticized for overpaying the young catcher.
Still, no one can truly predict how a draft pick will perform. If they could, fewer players would get drafted and the ones that did would all be the next Mike Trout – who himself was selected 25th overall in 2009, after such players as Matt Hobgood (fifth), Grant Green (13th), and Chad Jenkins (20th).
So Ward went to work to prove his naysayer’s wrong. He split his first professional season between two teams, already moving at lightening speed through the minors. Starting with rookie-league Orem (Utah) and quickly advancing to Class-A Burlington (Iowa).
Now Ward will be with the big boys in when Spring Training commences in about a week for pitchers and catchers! For more on how well Ward has performed in order to earn his ticket to major league camp check out the rest of my column on Today’s Knuckleball using the link below:
* To read my original piece on the Angel’s top draft pick in 2015 you can read it here: