Do the Boston Red Sox have another future big league pitcher rising up the system? There's a right-hander who has been tearing it up since returning from Tommy John surgery mid-way through the season.
Thaddeus Ward has earned recognition for his impressive comeback post-injury, and has continued to show why he's currently rated as the No. 15 Red Sox prospect, making him the fourth-highest rated pitching prospect in the system.
In his Arizona Fall League debut, he went up against fellow top prospects and continued to flash his electric offerings.
Ward allowed two earned runs on four hits with a walk and seven strike outs in 4 2/3 innings pitching for the Scottsdale Scorpions on Tuesday night.
His only real damage allowed was a two-run shot hit by Chicago Cubs prospect Brennan Davis, who currently is ranked as the No. 48 prospect in all of Major League Baseball and the No. 2 prospect in the Cubs' system.
Outside of one bad pitch, Ward was quite dynamic. He recorded seven swing-and-misses, all of which came from his two-seam fastball that sits 91-94 mph but can be run up to 96 mph.
The best part of the outing is that he didn't need to rely on his best offering, a nasty slider with a late break.
Ward is coming off a playoff start with the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs, where he was absolutely lights out. The 25-year-old allowed one hit, two walks and struck out seven in 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Somerset Patriots (New York Yankees affiliate).
Ward has been dominant since his return from injury, posting a 2.28 ERA with an outstanding 66-to-19 strikeout-to-walk ratio and .212 batting average against in 51 1/3 innings across four levels, spanning from his first rehab outing in the Florida Complex League all the way up to Double-A Portland, where he made seven of his 13 starts.
Ward is one of eight prospects to participate in the AFL, with No. 5 prospect Nick Yorke headlining the list.