SoxProspects News

June 7, 2019 at 12:00 PM

May Players of the Month: Triston Casas and Thaddeus Ward


To culminate a busy week highlighted by the 2019 MLB Draft, two players from the 2018 draft, first baseman Triston Casas and right-hander Thaddeus Ward, are taking home SoxProspects.com Player of the Month honors for the month of May. Selected 134 picks apart almost exactly a year ago, the two players had different backgrounds and profiles, but both were able to dominate for a month and further elevate their profiles while playing as teammates for the Greenville Drive.

Casas (pictured, left) is the much bigger name after being selected with the 26th overall pick last year out of American Heritage High School in Florida and entering the season as number three prospect on the SoxProspects.com rankings. That profile was built largely on his draft pedigree, as he was only able to play in two games before his season was ended with a thumb injury. Despite the reputation, the 19-year-old really struggled to start the year at Greenville. Through the end of April he was hitting only .208/.284/.364 with a 35% strikeout rate. Casas turned things around right as the calendar turned with four home runs in his first eight games of the month. That success, coinciding with a simplification of his pre-pitch setup at the plate, was in part due to a strikeout rate that was almost cut in half (18.9%), and he finished the month with eight home runs and a .315/.396/.652 line over 92 at-bats. With the graduation of Michael Chavis, Casas also took over the top spot on the June SoxProspects.com rankings.

Ward (pictured, right) may have not been as high profile coming out of the University of Central Florida, but he was still ranked 192 by Perfect Game USA and signed a slightly under-slot deal after being selected with the 160th pick in the fifth-round. Ward made 11 starts last year for Lowell with a 3.77 ERA and 1.45 WHIP. Ward was assigned to Greenville to start the year and immediately improved on his 2018 performance showing an elevated 10.8 strikeout rate and 3.20 ERA through the end of April. While he allowed seven runs over his first two starts in May, he was unstoppable for his last three starts. In each of those starts, he threw seven scoreless innings with 20 strikeouts and two walks over 21 innings. In total for the month, he went 3-1 and logged a 1.41 ERA and 0.72 WHIP with eight walks to 35 strikeouts over 32 impressive innings. The impressive month, thanks in part to increased velocity--he has reportedly been sitting at 94 mph--and the addition of a cutter, sent him rising up the SoxProspects.com rankings and he currently sits 22nd after starting the year at 38.

Last month's Player of the Month, Jarren Duran, had an almost identical month in May, but was narrowly topped by Casas. Duran managed a .388/.460/.561 line and finished the month with the best average in all of minor league baseball, earning a June 3 promotion to Portland. While he came up just short here, he was able to take home the Carolina League Player of the Month and now ranks third on the SoxProspects.com rankings.

Photo Credit: Triston Casas and Thaddeus Ward by Kelly O'Connor.

Will Woodward is a Co-Owner and Senior Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @SPWill.

 
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