clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Nationals' prospect Drew Ward in the Midway Classic Home Run Derby on USS Midway

New, 4 comments

Washington Nationals' prospect Drew Ward hit home runs off an aircraft carrier on Monday. Ward took part in the Midway Classic Home Run Derby, on the bow of the USS Midway, part of the festivities of the Carolina League-California League All-Star Game.

Photo © and courtesy Jen Mac Ramos/SB Nation
Photo © and courtesy Jen Mac Ramos/SB Nation

The Washington Nationals drafted Drew Ward out of Leedey High School in Leedey, Oklahoma with the 105th pick in the 3rd Round of the 2013 Draft.

Now-former Assistant GM Roy Clark and current Nationals' Assistant GM and VP of Scouting Kris Kline talked to reporters about the then-18-year-old infielder after the Draft that June.

Ward sped up the process of graduating from high school so he would be eligible for that year's Draft.

"We've been tracking [Ward] since last summer," Clark said.

"Once we heard that he might be coming out early. We saw him a bunch, and of course we tracked him this year.

"He's from a small town, little small town, but he played for a high-profile team in summer ball, so we got a lot of looks on him, but we knew that he might be coming out early."

"He's got a plus arm," Kline said. "He's got good action. Good hands. He's not a runner, but he's a left-handed bat with a really good advanced approach. And he's got power from the left side, so he definitely profiles as a corner-type player."

"We took three, what we consider, big-time power bats," Clark added, "and of course [Ward] is one of them."

"You're talking about potential big-time power," Jonathan Mayo said on MLB.com's Draft broadcast.

"Some teams were having a hard time putting an exact figure on that big-time power because you didn't see him against good competition."

In his first full minor league season at Low-A Hagerstown in 2014, Ward hit 26 doubles and 10 home runs in 115 games and 478 plate appearances, with a .269/.341/.413 line on the year.

In 111 games and 426 PAs at High-A Potomac last season, Ward put up a .249/.327/.359 line with 19 doubles and six home runs.

In 61 games and 254 plate appearances this year, in his second season with the P-Nats, Ward has hit 16 doubles and 11 HRs, with a .292/.390/.516 line.

Ward's power earned him an invitation to the Midway Classic Home Run Derby, which was held yesterday on the USS Midway, a Naval aircraft carrier anchored in San Diego.

Ward was one of four Potomac Nationals selected for the California League-Carolina League All-Star Game along with right-hander Ryan Brinley, left fielder Alec Keller and center fielder Andrew Stevenson.

Ward told reporters, including SB Nation writer Jen Mac Ramos, that he was excited about the opportunity to take part in the All-Star Game and Midway Classic Home Run Derby.

"It's a lot of fun," Ward said. "This is my first home run derby and being on the USS Midway for the first time, it's pretty cool. But coming all the way out here, it's been a really good time."

Ward said he'd been to San Diego before, but not for anything like yesterday's derby.

"This is Cal League written all over it. Hitting on the USS Midway. It's a lot different. Weather, people, you're by a beach, it's a lot different than the Carolina League."

"I'm having a blast," Ward said. "This has been a great time. Very pleased I made the All-Star team [and] get to participate in the home run derby."

Ward was eliminated in the first round, after hitting three home runs off the bow of the Midway. Seattle Mariners' prospect Kyle Petty was eventually crowned the winner.

Ward and the other P-Nats' prospects who were selected, will take place in the All-Star Game tonight.

[ed. note - "Quotes and pictures copyright and courtesy of SB Nation writer Jen Mac Ramos."]