Hit (35) Power (50) Arm (55) Defense (45) Run (35)
Drew Ward was Washington’s 3rd round pick, 105th overall, in the 2013 MLB Draft and signed for $850,000. Born in November 1994, the 22-year-old Ward is a left-handed hitting, right-handed throwing third baseman. He is listed at 6-3 215lbs, with long arms and tree trunks for legs. He could add some upper body mass, but there is little projection remaining in his frame. Ward possesses below-average or worse speed, consistently running 4.32-4.36 seconds home to first.
At the plate Ward has easy “60” raw power in his left-handed swing, launching balls deep to center and right field during batting practice. However, there is plenty of swing-and-miss in his game, hindering his ability to generate power during game action. Ward begins with the bat handle near his ear and uses a small leg kick to trigger his longish swing. He has some feel for the barrel, but velocity on the inner-half and breaking pitches gives him fits. He does damage to fastballs middle-to-middle-away and impressively identifies changeups. Ward will work the count and has a feel for the strike zone, but will need to shorten his swing and improve against breaking pitches against better competition. I project Ward as a “35” hit, “50” game power (“60” raw) hitter at the major league level.
Defensively Ward utilizes his above-average arm strength, soft hands and baseball instincts to overcome his mediocre athleticism and below-average speed at third base. Ward looks somewhat clunky moving laterally, limiting his range, but he consistently makes the routine play. His physical limitations will prevent him from becoming an average defender, but if he avoids another growth spurt, Ward projects as a below-average to fringe-average defensive third baseman.
Ward is an intriguing prospect due to his left-handed home run power, strong arm and innate baseball instincts. Sadly, his tendency to swing-and-miss, coupled with his below-average speed and athleticism, limits his eventual ceiling. His age relative to his competition and “baseball IQ” gives some optimism he can make the necessary swing adjustments. Ward projects as a Triple-A third baseman or backup corner infielder, with a ceiling of a below-average starter if he can make more contact and unleash his raw power.
Future Grades: Hit (30) Power (50) Arm (55) Defense (40) Run (35)
Raudy Read was signed by Washington for a $130,000 bonus as an international free agent in January 2011 from the Dominican Republic. Read is listed at 6-0 170lbs but appears closer to 200lbs, with a thick lower half and an ideal catcher’s physique. Read is a quality athlete for a catcher, flashing decent first-step quickness and posting 4.42-4.48 second times home to first from the right side – certainly not fast, but far from the typical base-clogging backstop.
Behind the plate Read utilizes his above-average arm strength and quick feet to throw out runners at a 39% rate in the minors. However, he struggles with the other skills that make a good defensive catcher. Read does a poor job blocking errant pitches and keeping the ball close to his body. Also, his hands are not particularly soft, as he struggles framing the baseball, often snatching the ball out of the air. Finally, his body is somewhat “loud” when setting his target and receiving the pitch. He will not necessitate a position switch, but he projects as a below-average defensive catcher.
Offensively the right-handed hitting Read has legitimate raw power, especially to his pull side. He punishes fastballs in the middle to inner-third of the plate and flashes easy “60” raw power in batting practice. Unfortunately Read struggles with velocity on the outer-half of the plate and recognizing spin. These flaws have become more dramatic at Double-A and have caused his strikeout rate jump to 20.7%. He will work the count and has an obvious plan to hunt fastballs but I fear his weaknesses will inhibit his offensive game at the upper levels. Read profiles as a “30” hit and “50” power type hitter at the major league level.
Born in October 1993, the 23-year-old Read is an intriguing catching prospect due to his obvious raw power, strong arm and ability to catch at the big league level. There are significant concerns with his ability to make consistent contact which would unleash his impressive power. And more importantly, Read is unlikely to develop into an average defender, putting further pressure on his offensive aptitude. Read projects as an offensive-first backup catcher or the right-handed portion of a platoon, with his ceiling being a league-average starter if his defense markedly improves.
THE NatsGM Show #108 has dropped and we are proud to welcome back a friend of the show, Baseball Prospectus’sRob Mains!
On this episode, our conversation begins with Rob discussing his recent trip to Cooperstown for the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony, both the positives and the negatives. Then we pivot and spend the rest of the show breaking down the MLB trade deadline, which teams we thought did well and teams we thought whiffed.
Thanks to Rob for graciously joining the show and to you for downloading!
THE NatsGM Show #107 is now available for download and we are proud to welcome 106.7 The Fan DC’s Chad Dukes!
Our conversation begins with Chad discussing his upcoming gig working as the MC for Ringside with Jim Ross August 10th at the DC Improv and his experience doing so last year. Then we shift the discussion to talk about his early career in radio and his relationship with the Sports Junkies. Next Chad reflects on working at the legendary radio station WHFS, meeting various celebrities and now hosting a daily 5 hour radio show for The Fan. Finally he gives his take on the upcoming Mayweather – McGregor fight and the state of Roman Reigns & Jinder Mahal in the WWE.
Thanks to Chad Dukes for generously sharing his time and to you for downloading!
For tickets to Ringside with Jim Ross -> http://dcimprov.laughstub.com/event.cfm?id=486853