LA Angels Top 25 Prospects: #6 Kevin Maitan
By Ryan Falla
Kevin Maitan has been one of the more celebrated prospects within the LA Angels system since his signing in 2017. The 18-year-old athlete from Venezuela receives constant comparisons to Miguel Sano and even the occasional Miguel Cabrera comparison.
A lot of these were born before he came into the Angels system, Maitan spending time with the Braves before being made a free agent by the MLB in 2017. He’s had an up and down development process already, but with the A+ tools already in place we may be primed to see another MLB star break out with the Halos.
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Kevin Maitan came to the Angels after the Braves international signing scandals of 2017 in which they lost 13 of their international signings due to fraudulent international activity. The Angels swooped in and benefited from that, locking up middle infielders Kevin Maitan and Livan Soto to deals with the Angels organization. Since then Maitan has both maintained his lofty expectations while also showing inconsistencies in his progress. Though there has been a hiccup or two in his development it’s noting that can’t be fixed with diligence and proper developmental oversight. Yet there also remains the notion that he may put himself in a position to dismantle all of his expectations and potential with regressive behaviors.
As a switch hitter Maitan displays great power from both sides of the plate and as a defender he displays fantastic athleticism. Despite being a big athlete at 6-2, 190lbs, Maitan has shown off graceful defense up the middle time and time again. It’s very interesting to mull over his offensive tools and projected status given his likely end goal being a middle infielder. His reflexes and instincts rate at above-average while also sporting a very good arm. He’s not the prototypical shortstop and there hangs the idea that he may move over to third later on, which fits his bat profile a bit more, but as a short stop he’s proven he can get it done. The position shift has nothing to do with his ability and more to do with his inconsistent conditioning.
His freshman season in professional baseball was a bit of disappointment; Maitan faulted on his conditioning and gained a considerable amount of weight, and likewise his performance and numbers suffered. Many wondered over the stability of his baseball mindset and ability to maintain his development, though he was able to return to form in 2018 with a re-focus on conditioning his body. Maitan posted 8 HR’s this past season after knocking only 2 back in 2017 with the Braves system, so there is still a strong sense of development to be had.
Because of all these concerns many wonder if he will eventual become a first-base-only type athlete. He has quickness and range at short, but a step or two taken off will absolutely require relegation to another position. It’s just a matter of how far back his condition falls if it does continue to slide, though he would still be a proficient hitter suitable for first base. It still is a bit disheartening to see a dropback in expectations already, especially with the idea that it’s Maitain that’s limiting himself. Regardless, there is a very special player inside waiting to blossom, and whether that comes out as a slugging shortstop or power first-baseman we’re still in line to see someone who can offer a large amount of value break through with the Angels soon.
Developmental Needs: Conditioning, Swing Maintenance, Mental Fortitude, Awareness, Motivational Energy, Maturation, Steady Defensive Hands, Consistency (Offense/Defense)
Best Tools: Switch-Hitting Power, Natural Power, Strong Arm, Natural Defense
MLB ETA: 2022