LA Angels News

Don’t sleep on Los Angeles Angels prospect Roberto Baldoquin

By David Rice
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 17: Brian Dozier
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 17: Brian Dozier /
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A couple of years ago the Los Angeles Angels thought they had found their shortstop of the future.  No, I’m not talking about Andrelton Simmons. It was rising Cuban star Roberto Baldoquin who was turning heads.

Roberto Baldoquin was getting tons of hype when the Los Angeles Angels gave the then 20 year old Cuban born middle infielder an 8-million dollar signing bonus to come to the Angels in January of 2015.  At the the time Erick Aybar was in the last year of his contract and the Angels were looking for someone who could potentially replace Aybar at short.

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That season the Angels invited Baldoquin to major league Spring Training camp and then sent him to Single-A and the Inland Empire 66’ers. What is ironic is that he was signed by then general manager Jerry Dipoto who was instantly impressed with Baldoquin’s skill set.

“Roberto is a very well-rounded player.  He can play all three infield positions and he’s a gifted defender with soft hands and the arm strength to play any infield position,” Dipoto said in an interview with Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.

“He also has a very advanced feel in the batter’s for what’s a ball, what’s a strike, and for using the middle of the field with a level line-drive stroke.”

So what has happened since then for Baldoquin?  Not very much.  Baldoquin has struggled at the plate over in his first three minor league seasons and he has also had to battle a plethora of injuries.

In three years with the Angels organization Baldoquin has gone from can’t miss prospect and the heir apparent at shortstop, to struggling to even stay in the organization. In 198 games (an average of only 66 games per season) Baldoquin has a career .235 batting average with five home runs and 56 runs batted in and a paltry .285 on-base percentage.

This was a very tough time for Baldoquin, but he just tried to stay focused throughout.

“I just tried to keep my head up and keep working hard,” Baldoquin said. “When you work hard you get results and that’s what I want to do.”

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Baldoquin was doing in 2016 hitting only .198 for the season that he was demoted to low Single-A Burlington for th entire 2017 season.  Baldoquin did show some improvement hitting four homers with 12 runs batted in and a .253 batting average.  This was enough to earn him an invite to the 2018 Spring Training camp.

On March 15th Baldoquin came up in a big moment as the Angels were trailing 8-7 with two outs in the ninth against Colorado.  Baldoquin tattooed a 1-2 pitch from Yency Almonte over the left-centerfield wall for a three-run game-winning home run.  Quite a difference from the previous three seasons.

So what did Baldoquin think of his heroics. “I was very happy to be able to hit a game winning home run like that,” Baldoquin said. “I was just trying learn from the veterans. They had a great work ethic and they don’t take days off and that was I found to be very important to their success.”

According to Baldoquin the Angel veterans have been very eager to help him which has been important to him getting better. “Erick Aybar was great to me when I first got here as was Albert Pujols,” Baldoquin said. “Aybar took me under his wing and helped me a lot. Even though he is not with the Angels anymore we still talk, just not as frequently.”

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Baldoquin also gave credit to Angels coach Alexi Gomez for helping him get back.  He said he is very happy to be back with Inland Empire this season.

“I’m really happy to be back here and I’m going to work really hard on the things I need to to improve and get to the next level,” he said. “I don’t have any goals for this season. I’m just going to keep working hard and try to improve and leave it to God where I end up at by the end of the season.”

So far Baldoquin has looked really good hitting .500 in his first five games going 9 for 18.  He seems to have a renewed sense of confidence that he has beeen missing over the past couple of seasons.  However, Baldoquin doesn’t want to get ahead of himself with his fast start.

“I feel very good so far and I am feeling very comfortable, but I want to continue to work on my skills to keep gettting better,” Baldoquin said.

Next: Angel pitching prospect Griffin Canning on the rise.

If Baldoquin keeps improving this season you could see him move to Double-A before mid-season, but he is still a long way away from getting to the majors. With his recent success at least Baldoquin is moving in the right direction.”

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