The LA Angels‘ front office just made a big move. Sending C.J. Cron down to the Salt Lake Bees, and calling up infielder Nolan Fontana. I’ve had the chance to track Fontana and his play this year. Here is what I have seen.
LA Angels Nolan Fontana has never broken out of the minor leagues. Fontana was drafted by the Astros in 2012 and had been in their farm system until the Angels claimed him off waivers this past off-season. Fontana started this season with the Angels triple-a affiliate the Salt Lake Bees.
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This move wasn’t exactly shocking. Just a few days ago I had written about someone from the Bees taking Danny Espinosa’s spot at second base. I had the assumption it would be Kaleb Cowart. In the same post though I mentioned about how Fontana had hit a walk-off inside the park home run. It was the first ever in Bees history.
So, why did the Angels decide to call up Fontana instead of Cowart? First of all, Fontana has a slightly better OPS. Fontana’s is sitting at .801, while Cowart’s is at .791. The biggest factor between the two is that Fontana was leading the Bees in home runs so far this season with 5, 2 more than Cowart. Fontana is also second on the team in RBI’s with 25, 9 more than Cowart.
Looking at the stats across the Bees players, Fontana has been one of the most consistent. He had a six-game hit streak towards the end of April, and in May he had six multi-hit games. In May Fontana also had 4 home runs and 14 RBIs.
On top of his offense, Fontana has been stellar defensively this year, especially at second. This was probably one of the determining factors in calling him up over Cowart. Fontana has played 15 games at second for the Bees. In those games he had 66 chances, meaning 66 chances to get an assist, put out, or an error. Fontana had 42 assists and 24 putouts, meaning he had no errors and was fielding 1.000.
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Fontana made his major league debut with the Angels on Monday night. He took over the duties at second base while batting ninth in the lineup. Fontana had three at-bats and went without a hit, and was pinch-hit for in the top of ninth. If Fontana can translate his play from the Bees to the Angels, then I feel he may find a spot on the roster.
If Fontana can keep his power up then he may be what we were all expecting from Danny Espinosa at the beginning of the season, a decent second baseman with good defense and slightly above average power. With a lot more potential of course. Even if Fontana ends up being sent back down at some point, his name is one you will definitely see again.