Big kid; every bit of his listed size; broader shoulders and chiseled frame; looks like a sturdy football player; frame likely maxed; maybe a slight tick in strength/muscle left.
6/14/14, 7/18/14 - 7/20/14
Hagerstown Suns (Low A, Nationals)
Interesting player; looks to have fun; goofing off in warmups and pre-game workouts; turns on the professional look during the game; annoyingly complains about every call; not bad makeup, but has some quirks that certain individuals may grow tired of.
40; Bench Player
Average bat speed; long swing; long extension and capable of reaching outside portion of plate without stretching and becoming unbalanced; does not keep that balance; slight hitch and his load is not proportionate with his swing; will often be out on front foot; swing can become extremely elongated and slow; currently has slider bat speed; struggles to recognize good spin; can be routinely beaten with sharp stuff below the zone or in the dirt; approach is not terrific; will need to iron out balance and elongated swing before ever piecing together enough ability to consistently hit major league pitching.
Plus raw power; plays down due to contact concerns; hands explode near contact; slight arc in swing; pull oriented swing that allows for him to hit ball hard down the line; enough power to hit balls out that he does not barrel.
4.39 home to first; not fast; lumbering at times; feet are not quick; not an impact tool.
Choppy footwork; sluggish in the field; feet get tied up and has trouble going left; many balls fell through the hole; range is below average; better going towards the line; needs to set feet better for throws; any growth could move him off 3B; teams may decide to move him anyways because the overall body of work defensively will not reach average; more reaction than athleticism at 3B.
Plus arm; makes hard and accurate throws from 3B; displayed ability to make throws from the line to first; impact arm that could work at 3B or even LF if moved there.
Ward has raw power and a big frame, but the hit tool and defense will drag him down at higher levels. He is getting away with the hit tool currently due to the competition level. Any secondary pitch that is a solid-average offering has overwhelmed Ward, who simply cannot recognize good spin. The swing has holes, but I do think it can be ironed out eventually. The swing can be shortened and balanced, but it does not solve to neurological issues of recognizing spin.
Ward is likely going to face issues at the next two levels, but he could piece it together and provide a few average seasons in the majors. This is not an impact prospect, but the tools are there just enough to provide some value. I do not think the OFP and realistic role are far apart, as the player does not have a large amount of growth left. However, he does have age on his side.