Jared Walsh, First Baseman
HT : 6;0
WT : 208
DOB : July 30, 1993 (22), in Duluth, Georgia
Throws : Left
Bats : Left
School : University of Georgia (Athens, GA)
Acquired : Drafted in 39th Round of 2015 MLB Draft
Last Year's Ranking : Unranked
Draft stock fell hard for Jared Walsh, as he never truly compiled a safe season at Georgia. Between Tommy John surgery his freshman year, a stress reaction in his back his junior year, and the terrible loss of his father to cancer during his sophomore campaign, Walsh never had a fair shot at making a name for himself in college. Walsh has a new opportunity, and it comes as a professional ball player in the Los Angeles Angels organization. It didn't take long for that opportunity to kick in to high gear upon his debut season as a pro.
Walsh comes to the Angels system with a line drive swing, that is improving with each rep in the cage. He's dealt with elbow and back injuries which has not only led to his draft stock dropping, but limited time seeing pitches against top tier SEC talent while in college.
Walsh put on a clinic against the top prep pitchers and college arms in the Arizona Summer League this past summer, posting a high contact rate with an up-the-middle approach. Most of his hits were line drives, going to the center of the diamond and outfield. He's defined as a gap-to-gap hitter, who "strokes."
Walsh will need reps in the field to see progress, as he's been limited. Though he isn't a liability at first base, there's room for improvement. He's athletic enough to make a move to the corner outfield positions when needed, and has an arm to back it. While in college, Walsh served as a pitcher who threw in the high 80's.
Something you won't find in many scouting reports is Walsh's ability to lead in the dugout and clubhouse. His demeanor and body language speak volumes for his character, staying calm and composed at all times. His emotions will run open, but only when needed.
Along with his leadership, Walsh carries a true bulldog (no Georgia pun intended) mentality to the field with him. He's a high-energy player, who should make noise every time he takes the field.
Scouting Report from Taylor Blake Ward - Senior Publisher for Scout.com
Walsh was named a three-time MVP for the Peachtree Ridge High School Lions, but his most valuable season came his senior year. In that senior campaign, Walsh hit .488 with 10 home runs and 15 doubles, while striking out 83 in 52 innings with a weak elbow. Walsh helped Peachtree Ridge to their first-ever playoff appearance, and earned the honors of All-Gwinnett County and Gwinnett-Dugout Club First-Team selections. Walsh was named the Region 7-5A Player of the Year as a senior, and earned All-Region honors as a pitcher his junior year, while going 4-1 with a 2.09 ERA, and 72 strikeouts in 57 innings, while hitting .408 with six home runs. In his sophomore year, Walsh hit .381 with five home runs and held a 2.05 ERA and 4-1 record. In summer ball, Walsh earned MVP honors for the East Cobb Astros, and received a Rawlings Silver Slugger Award with the Atlanta Braves 400 Club Atlanta All-Star baseball team.
Tommy John derailed Walsh's freshman season on the mound and in the field, as he was limited to only playing as the designated hitter. In 30 games, Walsh hit .176 with one home run and 5 RBI. His sophomore season came quickly after as a regular two-way player, the first Bulldog to do so in 22 years. Walsh pitched to a 2-4 record, 3.35 ERA and three saves as a sophomore, while hitting .297 with three home runs and 26 RBI. Walsh had two games where he hit a home run and collected a save. Highlights from Walsh's sophomore campaign were a 4-for-5 day at the plate with three runs scored versus Western Carolina, and an outing with nine strikeouts over 5.2 innings of work against Auburn.
Walsh was limited to 69 at bats and nine innings on the mound due to a stress reaction in his back during his junior year. In the time he had, Walsh hit .188 with two doubles and five RBI, along with a 1-1 record and 6.00 ERA, allowing 14 hits, six walks and seven strikeouts. Walsh was able to make some good time for Georgia his junior year, going five scoreless in a combined shutout against Presbyterian, and going 3-for-5 with four runs score in a victory over Western Kentucky.
Walsh began his senior season with a nine-game team suspension for violation of team rules, but also attained co-captain honors. Following that, he put together his best collegiate season batting .306 with a 14 doubles, two triples, three home runs and 22 RBI, all while tossing a 2.60 ERA and 5-2 record on the mound. The 2.60 ERA was third best in the SEC, and his .185 against average was best among SEC play. Walsh highlighted his season with a one-run six-inning performance, with four hits against the top ranked Vanderbilt. Walsh held a 15-game hit-streak near the end of the season, including a game where he launched a game-tying home run against Kentucky in the ninth inning. Walsh finished his Bulldogs' career with a .271 average, seven home runs, and 58 RBI in 139 games, while posting a 3.18 ERA and 8-7 record.
Walsh took professional baseball by storm, collecting hits in 21 of the 30 games he played in the AZL, reaching in 24. Walsh collected 12 multi-hit games and boasted a .325/.384/.542, finishing in league's top ten in doubles (12), triples (4), RBI (28) and OPS (.978). Walsh finished his first professional season with a .460 average with runners in scoring position. He finished his season with rookie Orem where he collected two hits in three regular season games, but had two of the biggest hits of the season, both game-tying home runs in a Pioneer League elimination playoff game.
After a strong performance in rookie ball, proving he's above the grade, Walsh may see a leap to Single-A in 2016. Spring Training will be the defining factor on whether that's the case, or if he heads back to rookie Orem, but Low-A is expected at one point or another for Walsh next season.
Walsh is a first baseman which causes some delay in making strides upwards toward the higher levels of the system. However, if he continues to put up numbers like he did last season, it will be a matter of time before he climbs the ladder. The Angels have multiple prospects that were drafted in the lower rounds that are now nearing time at the Major League level. Walsh could be that guy from this past draft.
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Taylor Blake Ward is a Senior Publisher for Scout.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.