When Jared Walsh was selected in the 39th round of the 2015 MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Angels — a round that no longer exists — he assumed he wasn’t going to get much of a chance to succeed. Players drafted that low rarely wind up in the Major Leagues, ultimately being stopped before they even start.
However, Walsh quickly worked his way up the ranks of the Angels’ Minor League system. He was promoted at least once per season from when he was drafted, finally get the call up to the Major League team in 2019. He struggled when he finally did get to play for the Angels. In 87 plate appearances in 2019, Walsh slashed .203/.276/.329 and was sent away to work on some swing mechanics.
When he came back, he was a different player. he stormed on to the scene towards the end of 2020, putting together such a compelling final month that he was given AL Rookie of the Year votes. Now, in 2021, he’s an All-Star.
When discussing what changed from his disappointing stint in 2019 to 2020, he credited Angels second baseman and fan favorite David Fletcher for completely changing his mindset surrounding the game, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“He’s the most elite baseball mind that I’ve ever been around,” Walsh said. “He doesn’t take things personally. He treats it like a game. When you treat it like a game, you are going to get the most out of yourself.”
Fletcher was drafted in the sixth round of the 2015 Draft, meaning he faced much better odds at succeeding. However, he still had to fight his way through the Minor Leagues to earn an opportunity with the Angels, one he’s absolutely made the most of.
While Walsh is not quite as dominant as he was in that month in 2020, he is putting together a remarkable campaign. Through July 8, he has an OPS of .911 with 22 home runs and 64 RBI’s. He’s certainly one of the Angels most clutch hitters, as he has two walk-offs this season as well as a ninth inning, game-tying grand slam.
Hopefully, Fletcher and Walsh can continue to grow within the Angels organizations, as they look to be core pieces of the team’s future.
Walsh has special performance in win over Red Sox
The Angels needed every last bit of Walsh’s power hitting in a daytime win over the Boston Red Sox. In a game that the Angels won 5-4, Walsh had an RBI groundout in the first inning to make it 1-0, a solo home run in the fifth to make it 4-2, and another solo home run in the seventh to make it 5-3.