6. Thad Ward (Starting Pitcher)
Thad Ward went all types of nuts this year. And in doing so, he became one of the best prospects in the Boston Red Sox system.
Ward was a fifth-round pick in 2018. The right-handed pitcher looked good that year, but it was nothing compared to what he accomplished in 2019.
In 2019, the 22-year-old was dominant from start to finish. He had multiple long scoreless innings streaks and never really had a bad stretch (or even really two or three average games in a row).
In 13 games in Full-A, Ward threw 72 1/3 innings. He had a 1.99 ERA and 87 strikeouts in that time. He also had a 1.05 WHIP and .194 BAA.
Then Ward moved up to Advanced-A. In 12 games there he threw 54 innings, posting a 2.33 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and .203 BAA. He struck out 70 more batters in that time.
Put that all together and you get a 2.14 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and .198 BAA. The 157 strikeouts in 126 1/3 innings were just icing on the cake.
Ward sits in the mid-low 90s on his fastball, which might not be all that impressive at the moment. However, he could still add velocity and the movement on it makes this a much better pitch. He also already possesses good command on the pitch.
Ward also has a cutter that comes in at around 88 and that’s the pitch I love the most out of him. It’s got deceptive movement and looks like his normal four-seam out of his hand. This could confuse a lot of batters.
Then there’s a curveball that I can’t talk much about because I only remember seeing it a few times. I don’t think it’s really going to be a part of his arsenal. It’s just kind of there to throw off the hitters every once in a while.
Finally he has a slider that barely touches 80. This is another really good pitch with some sharp bite to it. One of my favorite pitches is that down and out slider to get someone chasing with two strikes. That’s something you could potentially see a lot from with Ward.
Ward will likely spend all of 2020 in the minors. That might be his last full year in the minors though. He’s already looked too good for one level and really close to that in the next. He could be a fix for the Red Sox rotation in a year.