It has been a rough go of things for Los Angeles Angels first baseman Jared Walsh over the past two seasons. After an All-Star appearance in 2021, injuries, neurological issues and poor performance have held him to a .627 OPS over 149 games since the start of 2022.
The Halos called Walsh back up to the big league roster prior to their weekend series against the Detroit Tigers after a strong stretch in Triple-A, and for a moment, it appeared as though the old Walsh was back in action. He went 2-for-9 with two homers in the three games, with the homers coming in his first two games back with the Angels.
The road to this point has been long and winding for Walsh, but he’s grateful for the position it has put him in now with a chance to earn his way back into an MLB role, according to Janis Carr of The O.C. Register:
“It’s been huge,” Walsh said of his performance this weekend. “Any time you hit a home run in the major leagues it’s a special feeling. So, it’s been good; a lot of answered prayers.”
Walsh admitted he wishes the hot stretch would have come with more time remaining in the season, but the most important thing is that he has his focus back at the plate.
“I feel like some of the fog and fatigue has really lifted,” he said. “I’ve kind of hit my stride, but unfortunately, it’s only with 15 games left or whatever it may be. But I’m really happy, noticeably better.
“I’ve hit for a long time so when things are going wrong, you kind of know. I just never felt sharp, I never felt like really in it, able to lock in attention-wise. Once that happened and I was able to focus, it’s been good.”
Walsh’s spot at first base has been taken by 2023 first-round draft pick Nolan Schanuel. In the meantime, Walsh has predominantly played right field. He had no problem with the change, saying that he’s not in a position to land his first baseman role back.
But getting Walsh, 30, back to his old self could be an important tool for the Angels as they face a potential restructuring of the roster this offseason.
Schanuel content with lack of power
Schanuel has made waves with his 22-game on-base streak to begin his career, the sixth-longest such streak since 1961. And he is content to continue focusing on getting on base without the need to add power. He says he’ll focus on power if and when the Angels ask him to do so.