Martin Maldonado has been a rock for LA Angels pitchers.
By David Rice
When the LA Angels made a trade in the winter of 2016 for the Milwaukee Brewers back-up catcher Martin Maldonado, many Angel fans were sharing their heads. However that is not the case anymore.
The LA Angels were expecting Carlos Perez and Martin Maldonado to platoon at catcher in 2017. That didn’t last long when Perez started the season 1 for 20 at the plate, Maldonado was able to take the catching job full-time and has not looked back since. While Maldonado could never be confused with Buster Posey or Salvador Perez at the plate, he has been a solid force for the Angels these past two seasons.
Maldonado has smacked 20 home runs and driven in 70 runs in a season and a half behind the plate for the Angels. His batting average is only .225, but what Maldonado lacks offensively, he more than makes up for on the defensive side.
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In 2017, his first full season with the Angels, Maldonado won the AL Gold Glove Award unseating Salvador Perez who had won the previous four Gold Gloves for American League catchers. Maldonado posted a .998 fielding percentage and threw out 29 of 75 would-be base stealers and also helped give the Angels young staff some stability knowing that he would be able to erase many of their mistakes in the dirt with his superb blocking skills.
Maldonado has been just as good in 2018 posting a .994 fielding percentage this season and he has thrown out 12 of 25 would-be base stealers this season. Maldonado is hitting .231 with five home runs and drove in 32 runs at the plate. While these are not stellar numbers offensively if you look at the full package and you see why Maldonado is so valuable to the Angels.
Mid-Season Report Card Grade: B
Maldonado definitely deserves a B for his play so far. His defensive side is an A and offensively while his average is not stellar, driving in 32 runs already this season after driving in only 38 runs all of last season.
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If you ask Angel pitchers who they would like behind the plate almost all of them would say Maldonado. He has been a picture of stability in an otherwise unstable season.