Although he has cooled off from his early-season start where he was the best hitter in baseball, Ward is still slashing .312/.399/.548 with a .406 wOBA, 172 wRC+ and 11 home runs across 54 games.
Coming into 2022, Ward was sort of just a guy that former manager Joe Maddon noted would be in the mix for the starting right field slot. As a career .254/.333/.435 hitter, nobody could’ve predicted this level of production.
Ward is having so much success because of a swing change and new philosophy on hitting that he worked on in the offseason, he said via Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times:
“I did a lot of swing changes with my guy, Trent Woodward,” Ward said. “He learned a lot while he was with the Astros and filled me in on the philosophies they were learning at the time. I’ve taken those to heart and have really taken them to another level, and that’s really what helped me.”
MLB player in the modern era to have a double, a triple, a grand slam and 4+ runs scored in a single game:
Woodward told Ward about the hitting concepts he had learned, things like “early connection,” the relationship between the body’s tilt and the bat angle at the start of the downswing, “attack angle,” the angle the bat enters the hitting space, and how to create the perfect ellipse of a bat path.
Ward went on to bat .448 (13-for-29) with 10 runs scored, two doubles, a triple, four home runs, 11 RBI, two walks, and a 1.000 slugging percentage over seven games in late April, which earned him American League Player of the Week Honors:
“He controls the strike zone as well as anybody we have,” Angels hitting coach, Jeremy Reed said, “but now he’s maturing to the point where he understands how to get to the pull side a little more, and there’s more damage in what he does.”
Ward said Woodward helped him “eliminate all inefficiencies and wasted movement” in his swing. Ward’s first major adjustment in 2018 was to hold his bat at a 90-degree angle to his spine and to maintain that connection as he plants his front foot, rotates his body and brings his hands through the hitting zone.
But sadly for the Angels, that hasn’t been enough to carry them to wins.
Ward just misses advancing to All-Star voting phase 2
The Angels had two players advance to Phase 2 of voting for the 2022 MLB All-Star Game. Trout and Ohtani both placed within the top two vote-getters at their respective positions in the American League ballot.
With 3,381,758 votes, Trout trailed only New York Yankees star Aaron Judge, who led all players in MLB with 3,762,498 votes. Ohtani finished second at the designated hitter position with 1,664,012 votes to Yordan Alvarez of the Houston Astros, who had 2,215,456.