LA Angels: Six Prospects Who Proved Themselves in Spring Training

Jo Adell, Los Angeles Angels, (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jo Adell, Los Angeles Angels, (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
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Matt Thaiss (1B)

It’s a shame Albert Pujols is bogging down 1B because the Angels have a lethal first-baseman in Matt Thaiss who is more than ready for big league time. It’s a painful kind of funny because you don’t even have to try hard to make the case for Thaiss being on the Opening Day roster. He absolutely crushed opposing pitching with a total 1.807 OPS off of a HR, two Triples and six Doubles this Spring. His explosive performance earned him the Fred Haney Most Impressive Rookie in Spring Training yet he still didn’t make the Opening Day Roster.

On most other clubs Matt Thaiss would be riding his fiery bat into the regular season, but that won’t be happening until Albert Pujols or Justin Bour get hurt or play themselves out of AB’s. In fact it doesn’t seem like the Angels need Justin Bour as they have their own crushing lefty 1B in Thaiss who is waiting to get the call to the bigs. Of course that depth is great to have, but you also don’t want to keep Thaiss in the Minors for too long and at this point he is firmly blocked.

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His development hit a huge stride in 2018, his age 23 season, which saw him knock around 16 HR’s and 34 Doubles with a .280/.335/.467 slash line in 576 PA’s. One criticism that stuck to Thaiss up until 2018 was his lacking power for a 1B as he hadn’t hit more than 10 HR’s in a MiLB season. Thaiss has always had good line-drive power throughout his development, but it always seemed that 1B-type power was just out of his reach.

After his 2018 season and 2019 Spring Training he’s shown a burgeoning power developing with age. It’s common for a ballplayer to develop their power stroke in their mid 20’s and Thaiss is just 24. He has great contact ability that allows him to power line-drives all around the field and it’s that same consistent ability that has allowed this power to develop. If he can maintain this consistent approach the power will keep coming. Before you know it Thaiss will be stroking 25 HR’s with the MLB club.