Matt Thaiss was drafted with the 16th pick overall in the 2016 Amateur Draft by the LA Angels out of the University of Virginia many were surprised that the Angels drafted another catcher.
Matt Thaiss was a catcher growing up through high school, but when the LA Angels drafted Thaissin 2016 they made it clear they wanted him to play first base rather than catch for them. Thaiss had played first base some in college, but he still had a lot to learn.
The Angels started the project to turn Thaiss into a major league first baseman and the now almost 24-year old Thaiss has worked his up through the Angels minor league system. So far so good for Thaiss as he has shown the ability to hit at every level of the minors with a .280 career averaged in 1303 at-bats. Thaiss has a .357 OBP with 31 homers and 192 RBIs in three minor league seasons.
Thaiss was invited to Spring Training again for the second year in a row and so far the results have been very positive. Thaiss has gone three-for-four with a double and a triple and he has driven in five runs in two games. This is a very small sample size right now, but if Thaiss can continue to hit and also field well at first base he could have an outside chance of making the Angels Opening Day roster when the team breaks camp in a month.
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Even if Thaiss does not make the Opening Day Roster he could be one of the first players to get called up to the Angels if one of the infielders suffers an injury. With Albert Pujols coming to the end of his career and Justin Bour only signed for one season, Thaiss could be the proverbial “first baseman of the future”.
Could that future be this season? Probably not, but in 2020 Thaiss could be given the keys to the first base job, especially if he has a stellar 2019 season in the minors/majors combined.
Thaiss has all the tools and he is one of the many prospects that have helped resurrect the Angels farm system that is now considered a top 10 farm system compared to just a few years ago when it was near the bottom.
However, if Thaiss continues to impress his timeline may get moved up and that would be music to Thaiss’ ears.