Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Interview conducted by David Saltzer, Senior Writer

When the Angels drafted catcher Taylor Ward with their first round draft pick in June, 2015, the reaction from the front office was one of jubilation. A big cheer erupted in the draft room, as if they had won the lottery. However, many of the national pundits had a different reaction—confusion. A big question arose amongst the “experts” as to whether this was an overdraft pick. Without a doubt, the combination of these two opposing reactions led to a lot of speculation about the pick, and what it meant to long-term health of the Angels farm system.

In talking with many within the Angels organization, I’ve been assured that their feelings were genuine and that they were very thrilled to be able to pick Taylor Ward in the first round. According to many, this was all part of a multi-year draft plan to rebuild the overall depth and quality of the organization. As has often been the case (such as when national pundits ranked Mike Trout lower than when the Angels picked him), the Angels had their own reasons for identifying his talent, and went in a different direction than the general consensus.

Since signing with the Angels, Taylor Ward has done everything to silence the questions of the critics and confirm the analysis of the Angels. As of this writing, Taylor has posted a .357/.469/.439 line across two levels this season (Orem and Burlington) erasing the questions some had about his bat. He has walked more times than he has struck out (32 BBs to 15 Ks), More importantly, he has continued to show the plus arm and defense that made him a standout catcher by throwing out 34% of opposing baserunners. He is quickly becoming noticed as one of the top catching prospects in the Minor Leagues.

When I met Taylor Ward, I was very impressed by the quality of his responses to the interview questions. He was genuine and sincere.  More important, he was very focused on his craft and his skills. With the Angels developing a new core for their rotation, Taylor Ward makes a lot of sense for the long-term stability of the organization. He’s a quality player and a quality person.

Please click below to watch to our interview with Angels catcher Taylor Ward.

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