Major League Baseball will undergo a series of rule changes next season, one that will benefit hitters league-wide, especially Los Angeles Angels first baseman, Jared Walsh.
Amongst the changes, a ban on defensive shifts is in many people’s eyes, the most impactful because of its restriction of placing defenders in incredibly advantageous spots when facing pull hitters. This season, Walsh has faced a defensive shift 72.2% of the time, more than any time in his four-year career.
Walsh remains in the 64th percentile in hard-hit rate and although he’s taken a step back in max exit velocity, his 82nd percentile rate still bodes well for his future.
On the season, Walsh has posted a .643 on-base plus slugging with 15 homers and 44 RBI, but according to Jeff Fletcher of the O.C. Register, Walsh believes it will provide him with a bit of an uptick in production:
“I think it could help every hitter in baseball, in theory,” Walsh said. “But, we all know, with as advanced as the analytics are now, it would be in your best interest to get the ball in the air. I’m sure I’ll get a few more hits because of it. But for me, I’m usually trying to hit a line drive anyways.”
Walsh underwent surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome in late August, but expects to come back better than before.
“I’ve been moving around good,” he said. “I feel like I have good range of motion and everything. I’m happy with it.”
Heading into 2023, barring any setbacks in his recovery, Walsh is on track to bounce back to more of a reliable player for the Angels.
Jared Walsh nominated for Roberto Clemente Award
Although the baseball season hasn’t gone the way that Walsh had hoped, he’s still making an immense impact as a valuable member of the community.
Walsh is now in his fourth year with the Angels, and the 29-year-old has quickly learned that his performance on the diamond shouldn’t be the only thing to focus on as a professional baseball player.
Along with 29 other big league players, Walsh was nominated as the Angels’ representative.