Midseason & Postseason All Star Nick Ward Returning in 2023

Thursday, December 1, 2022
By Kyle Dawson
Midseason & Postseason All Star Nick Ward Returning in 2023

WASHINGTON, Pa. (Dec. 1) – Frontier League MVP candidate Nick Ward and the Washington Wild Things have agreed to a deal to bring the midseason and postseason All Star shortstop back for the 2023 season, which will be his third in a Wild Things uniform.

Ward played in 82 games in 2022 and slashed .349/.478/.620. The .478 slugging percentage and his 1.098 OPS (On Base Plus Slugging) set new single-season franchise records in the team’s 20th Frontier League season. Ward also clubbed a career-best 19 home runs and drove in a career-high 61 runs. Those great numbers went along with 18 stolen bases, 63 walks and 10 times hit by a pitch. He scored 71 runs and amassed 102 hits.

His .349 batting average was tied for third in the Frontier League, his OBP was the league’s best, his slugging percentage was fifth and he walked the fifth most times in the league. All his production led to him being a prime MVP candidate before Tri-City’s Brantley Bell won the honor.

“Nick Ward is an MVP caliber player. Every manager in this league would like to have a Nick Ward on their club,” said manager Tom Vaeth. “He makes an impact both offensively and defensively on the field just about every night… having him back in the middle of our field definitely puts us in a position to contend again next year.”

In two Frontier League seasons, the Wild Things are 76-34 with Ward in the leadoff spot of the lineup in the regular season. He slashed .269/.420/.409 with 18 doubles, five homers and 37 RBI in 2021, a season in which he missed the first few weeks with an injury. He also won the Fran Riordan Award (Citizenship Award) in the league that season.

Ward was with the Wild Things’ organization as part of the Steel City Slammin’ Sammies during the 2020 pandemic pod after  spending 2018-22019 with the Oakland organization once he was selected in the 34th round of the 2018 MLB Amateur Draft out of West Chester University, where he won a Division II national title with the Golden Rams. He was a career .341//440/.555 hitter with 25 homers and 123 RBI in college.

“This is where I want to be,” said Ward. “I can’t wait to be back in Washington and bring a championship to the city in 2023.”

The Wild Things have now officially signed three Frontier League All Stars from last season. The roster is available on the Wild Things’ website. The league’s transaction page is available here.