A strong professional debut earned catching prospect Taylor Ward, the Angels' top pick in the 2014 draft, an invitation to major league spring training camp, the team announced on Tuesday.
Ward, a former Fresno State standout who was the 26th overall selection, split last season between rookie-league Orem (Utah) and Class-A Burlington (Iowa), batting .348 with a .457 on-base percentage, .438 slugging percentage and more walks (39) than strikeouts (23) in 56 games.
Known for his advanced defensive skills and strong arm, Ward, 22, also threw out 29 of 84 base-stealers for a 34.5% caught-stealing rate. The major-league average is about 27%.
Ward is one of 20 non-roster invitees who will join players from the 40-man roster when camp opens with a Feb. 19 first workout for pitchers and catchers and a Feb. 24 first workout for position players in Tempe, Ariz.
The others are pitchers A.J. Achter, Tyler DeLoach, Lucas Luetge, Greg Mahle, Yunesky Maya, Kyle McGowin, Ramon Ramirez and Nate Smith; catchers Juan Graterol, Stephen McGee, Michael Strentz and Wade Wass; infielders Sherman Johnson, Gregorio Petit and Alex Yarbrough; and outfielders Quintin Berry, Andrew Brown, Nick Buss and Chad Hinshaw.