Boston Red Sox top-30 prospect rankings after the 2021 season
No. 29: Red Sox starting pitching prospect Thaddeus Ward
Thaddeus Ward should be in a much better spot on this list than 29. However, Tommy John surgery took away his 2021 season. Well, he threw eight innings technically, but you know what I mean.
Missing out on a full season didn’t help his case, especially as the Red Sox system filled up with even more talent. They are overflowing with prospects at the moment. Due to that, Ward took a hit.
The good news is, he already has a pretty impressive career. Ward was good in his first year in the organization in 2018, then absolutely dominated in 2019. In that season, Ward posted a 2.14 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, .198 BAA, and 157 strikeouts in 126 1/3 innings between Low-A and High-A.
This already helped him to build a reputation. With that reputation, he was seen as someone that could be rotation help within the next few years.
Obviously, losing his 2021 season did not help (especially after losing the 2020 season like the rest of the minor leagues). But overall there is still a lot to love about the 24-year-old’s game.
This is where it gets interesting. Ward’s pitching repertoire. The right-hander has a fastball that sat in the low-mid-90s and could get above 95 at times. I say “sat” because as I’ve mentioned, he’s had Tommy John surgery. Something that happens to TJ pitchers sometimes is that they actually gain velocity. This is a pitch that had good velocity, good control, and good movement. Now add some more velo and it could be absolutely dangerous.
Ward also has a cutter that is his best pitch. It sits in the high-80s, but again might gain one or two MPH. There’s a ton of late movement on the pitch, and he has good command of it. Absolutely a go-to pitch that will get him a lot of strikeouts.
Then there’s an elite wipeout slider. Strong and shape slice to it. Sits in the low-80s and he has good command over the pitch. Something that will probably have a lot of hitters looking stupid.
My favorite pitch is a changeup, but if I’m being honest that’s not Ward’s best pitch. Good late fade on it and it looks like a fastball coming out of his hand. Drops off and is thrown in the high-80s though, so it could confuse some batters. Doesn’t throw it often anymore.
Like the changeup, Ward also has a curveball that he doesn’t use much. I think given time he’ll throw both a little more, as it’s not a bad thing for a starter to have extra pitches. The curve hits the high-70s and has good vertical drop to it. Rarely used though so it’s hard to rate it much.
Ward absolutely has potential to be a rotation arm within the next year-or-two. From there, don’t be surprised if he continues to develop into a very good Major League starter for the Red Sox.