While Brian Ward might be the guy that calls the best game, I am a bit puzzled that they are pushing him in the AFL roster. He is going to be 26 in A ball and that window is closing.
It is possible that he wants to be pushed and maybe the bat still has a bit of projection. Watching him at the plate, he should have better results. He could still be adjusting to better off-speed pitching. Still seems to streaky. These results are typical of say 18-19-20, but not at his age it is more than alarming. It is quite possible that top shelf competition was keeping him behind the 8 ball and he is going to take longer to reach his best baseball days.
I am encouraged by his late season splits that he could at least play a backup catcher. His defense and game calling is his strong point and might be splitting hairs between Caleb Joesph and Brian Ward. As long as he can maintain a serviceable sitck, he is in line to fill a backup role next season. I guess the AFL move puts him on the platform to make that jump in spring training.