Los Angeles Angels new player addition: Martin Maldonado
Los Angeles Angels catcher Martin Maldonado is new to the team, kinda. We take a look at what the former-Brewer backstop brings to the Angels in 2017.
Maldonado arrived to the Los Angeles Angels in a swap for fellow catcher Jett Bandy in December 2016. However, this wasn’t Maldonado’s first go around with the Angels. As is the case with fellow former Brewer-turned-current-Angel, Blake Parker, the catcher had spent some time with the Angels.
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Drafted in the 27th round of the 2004 draft, Maldonado played 3 seasons in the Angels system, never advancing beyond rookie ball. Picked up by the Brewers at 20 years old, he worked his way through their system to a call-up in 2011. Then, in 2012 he began a run of serving as Jonathan Lucroy‘s back-up (finally getting the starting nod with Lucroy’s trade last season.)
Maldonado never has been an offensive-first catcher in minors or the majors, he did however, increase his walk rate in 2016 to go along with 8 home runs. Ultimately, it will take more than a slight increase in walks and a handful of home runs to endear anyone a .202 avg and a .683 OPS.
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That is where Maldonado’s defensive skills come into play. Last year, the backstop threw out 40% of would-be-base-stealers (20 out of 50 attempts) with a .983 fielding percentage. With a powerful arm and good defense, the hope is that entering his age 30 season, extended playing time can yield 10-12 home runs, and what would grade out as one of the best arms in the majors last season (only two catchers who qualified for league leader stats threw out over 40% of base runners). As a player with a positive WAR in 3 of the last 4 years (and an even better dWAR), the chance is Maldonado’s for the taking, and for the proving.