The LA Angels addressed life after Albert Pujols when they selected Matt Thaiss in the first round of the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft. Thaiss was promoted to the Double-A Mobile Baybears Tuesday morning after a solid start to his season.
The LA Angels have not had great success at first base this season. Luis Valbuena and CJ Cron has both been major disappointments in 2017, while Pujols may not even hit 25 home runs this seasons. However, help seems to be on the way in the form of Matt Thaiss.
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Thaiss played his college ball at the University of Virginia, and was one of the top hitters in college baseball before the Halos selected him with the 16th overall pick. At 22 years old, Thaiss has earned his first trip to Double-A, after spending the season at the Single-A Advanced level thus far.
In 84 games, he has hit .265 with eight big flies. While those numbers do not pop out, Thaiss has shown some great progress. He has 13 doubles as well, even flashing some speed with four triples and four stolen bases.
This will also give Thaiss a chance to work on his game against even better opposition. His power has dipped this season, but he has held his own. This year has not been as amazing as his first year as a Halo, but that is common when a player makes the jump from Rookie Ball to Single-A.
Thaiss was originally drafted as a catcher, but was almost immediately moved to first once the Angels drafted him. This allows Thaiss to focus on becoming the team’s first baseman or designated hitter of the future. The Angels have had good play at the catcher position this year. They have also invested a first rounder in Taylor Ward. A defensive specialist, he is a better bet to be the Angels’ future backstop.
There is no reason to worry about Thaiss yet. However, if he isn’t able to figure his game out this year at Double-A, his development may take longer than originally expected.