The Washington Nationals have a pretty solid third basemen in Anthony Rendon, but Drew Ward has begun to show that he deserves a look even if it isn’t at third base.
He possesses above-average power at a 55 grade on the 20/80 scale. Hitting is the tool that will likely get him to the majors, but he has proven that he can play a serviceable third base as well. His 55-grade arm really pays off, but this spring he got some time at first to add to his versatility.
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Ward has done pretty well in the minors batting a career .261 over the last three years. He has spent some time in Double-A but most of his time has come at the lower levels.
Ward really needs to work on making more contact and getting that batting average up. Although many would call Ward’s time with the big league club this spring a success, he still only hit .200 in his nine games this spring and .219 in 53 games at Double-A Harrisburg last year.
Although the numbers still need to improve, Ward has already made some big steps in his time in the minors.
One thing that really got my attention was his comparison to Yoan Moncada and Andrew Benintendi, who were in the same league as Ward. As I’m sure you know by now those two players are some of the best prospects in the game and Keister said, “Drew was right there as one of the better players in the league.” That is high praise coming from someone who is so close to him on a day-to-day basis.
Being a bench bat, as Ward projects to be, for one of the best teams in the National League is nothing to be upset about. His versatility in the infield could even land him a starting spot in years to come if an injury comes up and if his bat becomes an even better tool that will help.
The Nationals have shown in the past that they will find a spot for bats that demand it. Ward may even find some time in the outfield with his plus arm if he is given the time to get used to another new position.
Ward will likely improve heading into this season and with his time at first base it would not surprise me if we saw him as a bench bat in 2018.
Ward has a lot of upside, but with all the talent in D.C. he will need to be a standout to get any real time. Time will tell if Ward can really help the Nats but, as of right now, all signs are pointing to the fact he will help in some way for sure. Look for him to be a star in Harrisburg this year in Double-A for most of the year.