Nationals select Thad Ward in 2022 Rule 5 Draft

The Washington Nationals selected right-handed pitcher Thad Ward in the Major League phase of the 2022 Rule 5 Draft on Wednesday. Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.

Ward, 25, went 0–2 with a 2.28 ERA in 13 starts across four levels of Boston’s Minor League system in 2022. He struck out 66 batters and held opposing batters to a .212 batting average in 51.1 innings pitched. Ward posted a 2.84 ERA with 15 strikeouts in four games (three starts) during the Arizona Fall League season.

The 6-foot-3, 192-pound right-hander was Boston’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2019 after leading the system with 157 strikeouts. He went 8–5 with a 2.14 ERA in 25 starts between Single-A Greenville and High-A Salem in his first full professional season. Ward did not pitch during the 2020 season and underwent Tommy John ligament-replacement surgery on June 3, 2021.

Ward entered the 2022 season rated as the №15 prospect in the Red Sox organization according to MLB Pipeline and the №19 prospect according to Baseball America. He was among Boston’s top 10 prospects in 2021 (№10) and 2020 (№7) and was cited by Baseball America as having the organization’s “best control” in 2021 and “best slider” in 2020.

Ward was selected by the Red Sox in the fifth round of the 2018 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Central Florida. He is 8–10 with a 2.53 ERA, 10.8 strikeouts per 9.0 innings and a .218 opponents’ batting average in 51 career Minor League starts.

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