ANAHEIM (News4usonline) – Outfielder Taylor Ward continues to impress as the engine starter at the beginning of the Los Angeles Angels lineup. Ward has been absolutely on fire to start the season and he quietly ignited the offense once again.
“This is what he has been like his whole career. That is why we have always been on him. This does not surprise a lot of people,” manager Joe Madden said of Ward postgame after the Angels defeated the Washington Nationals, 3-0, at Anaheim Stadium in the first of a three-game series.
Ward scored in the first inning and the Angels never looked back. Showing great patience at the plate against the Nationals, he drew a walk in his first three at-bats.
“He is okay accepting a walk, it doesn’t bruise his ego. That is just who he is. He is that kind of hitter that is always sought after; look at his numbers. Those are [Barry] Bonds kind of numbers at the end of a season,” said Madden.
Ward is breaking out in Los Angeles and his ascension could not come at a better time for the Angels. After being named American League player of the week, the 28-year-old appears to have solidified his spot at the top of the Angels’ star-studded lineup.
“Being the player of the week is a huge honor, I’m very grateful to be in this position… a lot went into getting to this point. A lot of hard work, a lot of good coaching, a lot of process-oriented stuff and I’m just happy to be here,” Ward told MLB Network after receiving the honor.
Seven games over the .500 mark, Los Angeles is off to a hot start. One month into the season, the Angels sit at the top of the American League West as they try to break their playoff drought that has not seen them make the postseason since 2014. Ward’s strong showing so far in 2022 will go a long way in getting them there if he continues to produce.
Ward started the year off on the injured list missing the team’s first eight games. Despite missing some time he is still first on the team in runs (20), tied for first in home runs (6), and third on the team in runs batted in (15). He currently leads the American League in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage.
“Every year I have taken a step up, especially mentally, locking in and not letting anything affect you. I think this year has been the best year, we still have a lot to go. It will be interesting and I’m just trying to help my team win,” said Ward.
It is a small sample, but it could be a sign of big things to come for a player on a team that has been a piece or two away from contending for years. No one is doubting the Angels’ ability to produce All-Star caliber numbers in the middle of the order. A stud leadoff man is exactly what the lineup needs.
Benjamin Verbrugge is a student at CSU Dominguez Hill studying journalism. “Sports have brought me much joy throughout my life, and I want to be able to give a little back to something that has meant so much to me. I grew up in Los Angeles primarily following the Lakers and Dodgers, but I am also an avid fan of sporting events, news, and stories in general.”