Outfielder Ryan Ward is becoming a staple in the Great Lakes Loons lineup. Ward, who joined the club last week, has appeared in all six of the Loons’ games to date.
Appearing in three games in left field and another three as a designated hitter has kept Ward’s bat active in the lineup. So far this season, Ward has a .522 on-base percentage with two doubles and a home run in 14 at-bats.
Ward credits his plate approach, which he believes has improved since turning pro, for his ability to reach base frequently.
“I feel my plate approach has grown greatly,” stated Ward. “Just learning and understanding my strengths and really keying in on those while in a game has helped me avoid chasing and I’ve been able to see the ball well.”
His ability to not chase is important, as pitchers command their pitches better at the High-A level than in college and the Rookie League.
“The pitchers have better control and command at this level,” explained Ward. “They’re able to throw any pitch, in any count, in any spot. It’s becoming a real chess match at the plate in every at-bat.”
Focused on more than just hitting, Ward put extra work in during the 2020 layoff to improve his defensive game.
“My range in the outfield has improved,” said Ward. “It’s been a key focus of mine to improve my outfield and defensive play in general. Having the past year off to get into the weight room to become faster, stronger, and have the ability to be explosive in first steps, I believe is going to help me greatly in my outfield play.”
The work that Ward put in is paying off in the early going of his 2021 season as he’s currently 4-for-4 in outfield chances in 24 innings in the field.
Be sure to follow Ryan Ward’s progress this season in Great Lakes, and for years to come.