This past week I was able to have a quick discussion with Angels minor leaguer Jared Walsh. Jared was drafted in the 39th round of the 2015 draft by the Los Angeles Angels. Over three seasons in the organization, he hit .303 with 20 HR, 126 RBI, and 260 hits in 857 at bats.
Walsh made a name for himself in his high school career, earning the honor of MVP for Peachtree Ridge High School. His senior year was especially impressive, as he hit ,488 with 10 home runs, and struck out 83 in 52 innings on the hill. He struggled with injuries in his sophomore and junior seasons in college, but was selected by the Angels and has stayed in the organization since after a strong senior year. Overall, his numbers balanced out, hitting .271 overall with 7 home runs. As a two-way player, he also posted a 3.18 ERA with a 8-7 record. In the AZL, he excelled with 12 multi-hit games, a .325 average, 12 doubles, 4 triples, and an OPS of .978.
In 2017, he split time between Inland Empire (70 games) and Mobile (20 games). At 24 years old, he will look to take the next step in 2017. Without further ado, here is the interview.
First of all, how would you describe your minor league career at this point, and what are you looking forward to in the future?
“My minor league career has been very interesting. I have played at every minor league affiliate except AAA so it has definitely been a journey. I have battled a few injuries but have been fortunate to come back so for the future I am looking to stay healthy and hopefully play in the big leagues soon.”
What has been the highlight of your minor league career?
“Haha, probably my pitching appearance in Low A when I got the win. It was the 16th inning and i managed to miss a few barrels. Not many position players get the chance to pitch so I was excited.”
Speaking of pitchers, who was the most difficult to face in your professional career?
“Wow that’s a tough one. I have faced a bunch of guys that were really good. Gohara from the Braves was pretty impressive but Dillon Maples from the Cubs really sticks out to me. He has big league closer type stuff.”
Yeah, those guys certainly look hard to face. Next, What typically is your approach when you’re at the plate?
“Pretty simple…stay inside the ball and drive it through the middle of the field. If I start to try to pull I get in to trouble so I try to really stay up the middle.”
Is there a current or former major league player that you aspire to be like?
“I really don’t have one in particular but I liked Lance Berkmans game. He played a lot of outfield and a lot of first base and always seemed to have a professional at bat so he’s a pretty good example.”
Cool. Switching topics up a bit, what are your thoughts on how the Angels organization is heading?
“I’m really excited. Obviously everyone knows that we landed Ohtani, Kinsler, Cosart and some other big free agents but I really think we have some serious talent coming up through our system despite the fact that many people consider us to be below average so hopefully we get that mix of young players and veteran leaders to bring us back to become a fixture atop the AL West.”
I’m excited too. Lastly, what are you personally most excited for in this next year?
“I’m really excited to chase after a championship this year. I didn’t win as much as I would have liked while in college and have not made the playoffs in my last two full seasons in the minors. I’ve always wanted to celebrate with teammates at the end of the year knowing that we could go into the offseason on a high note.”
Awesome. Best of luck next season and thanks for taking the time to be interviewed.
No problem. I appreciate it!
I’d like to give another special thank you to Jared for taking the time to answer the questions. In 2018, he will compete to advance in the Angels minor league system. The Angels figure to hang on to C.J. Cron and Luis Valbuena (contract year) at the major league level, although Albert Pujols, as a result of the Shohei Ohtani signing, could get most of his reps at his original position. Right now, Matt Thaiss headlines their farm at first base. There’s no doubt that the Angels’ system has taken a big step forward in these last three seasons. Jared, 24 years old, will certainly battle to eventually crack the major league roster. And with his determination and love for his team, I wouldn’t be surprised if he did. We here at SMR wish him the best in his professional career, and hopefully we see him in the majors soon.
(Image via https://www.bulldawgillustrated.com)