By Ryan Falla (@rmfalla)
Did anyone see Matt Thaiss having a breakout Spring Training? There wasn’t a lot of attention paid to the young come-ups within the Angels franchise looking to solidify themselves coming into this Spring, but just a weeks worth of games later and we’ve seen the Angels future making waves that no one saw coming. Leading that youthful charge is an Angels Top Prospect, Matt Thaiss, the power-hitting first baseman whose ability to make contact is as timely as it comes.
Matt Thaiss has spent three seasons developing within the Angels farm system after being drafted in the 1st round of the 2016 draft. As he began his development journey many scouts rated him as a high-contact, low-power first baseman and when you look at his early MiLB power numbers it easy to understand why.
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The 2018 season, a breakout year for Thaiss, was the first year in which he posted double-digit HR’s (16). However, his skill-set still saw him bring a fair amount of power to the plate in the form of line-drive, doubles producing ability all throughout his career. In 2017 Thaiss collected 27 doubles across 606 Plate Appearances, though that number rose significantly in 2018 as he collected 34 doubles in 30 less Plate Appearances.
Those numbers are starting to translate to an MLB-level readiness big time. Thaiss isn’t just looking like the most MLB-ready prospect, he’s looking more ready for the regular season than some Angel mainstays.
So far he’s collected six extra base hits (1 HR) with 9 RBI’s and 5 Runs Scored in 17 Plate Appearances as well as one walk. Thaiss’ is approaching the plate in the calm and collected manner you usually only see from MLB veterans and it shows in his results. He isn’t just making good contact, he’s absolutely lacing the ball every which way.
We’re seeing it all from Thaiss, from punching blazing line drives up the right field corner to showing off his no-doubt HR ability. The fact that he’s also managed 2 triples shows both how fierce his line-drives are as well as how strong his physical conditioning is this early in the year.
Prior to the 2018 season Matt Thaiss was seen as a more advanced James Loney type; high contact ability with a strong glove at 1B, but likewise holding a lacking ability to punch the ball with force. That all changed after his 2018 MiLB breakout at the age of 23, and now at 24 Thaiss is showing that he’s more than just an MiLB breakout. He’s showing he’s more than just a Spring Training standout.
Matt Thaiss isn’t just an MLB ready prospect, he’s the kind athlete whose rising ability isn’t just going to settle in as a MLB contributor. Thaiss is well on his way to showing off not just his MLB readiness, but his All-Star ability as well.