Sometimes it is better to be an unknown than a star. In LA Angels prospect Michael Stefanic’s case he is flourishing in Single-A for the Inland Empire 66ers after going undrafted.
LA Angels prospect Michael Stefanicc was an undrafted free agent out of tiny NAIA Westmont College located neared Thousand Oaks. But the five foot ten inch second baseman has been used to going unnoticed after hitting .363 in his four years at the Golden State Athletic League college.
Stefanic made the first team all-conference his senior year, an honor he garnered all four years. In addition Stefanic was an honorable mention NAIA All-American his senior year and also won his fourth straight GSAC Gold Gloves at second base.
Stefanic though went unnoticed, so he had to be proactive. He emailed all 30 major league teams and sent them a video of him playing. After about a week-and-a-half the Angels came calling and signed him to a free-agent contract and Stefanic was on his way to the Angels rookie league team in Orem, Utah.
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In 14 games for Orem and the Angels rookie league team hitting .351 with a .429 OBP in 2018. This year Stefanic started out in Low Single-A Burlington and stood out because he just kept hitting when no one else was hitting .333 in 22 games with a .400 OBP with 10 RBIs. That was enough to get him promoted last month to High Single-A Inland Empire.
Unfortunately right after arriving in California, Stefanic got hurt and had to wait to make his Cal League debut. Since he returned from the injured list Stefanic is proving he can hit once again. He has a .266 batting average with three homers and nine RBIs.in 17 games for the 66ers.
I had a chance to catch up with Stefanic a couple of weeks ago in San Bernardino and chat with the hitter that has the second-highest average of any 66ers starter.
How does it feel to be in Single-A and healthy again?
“I’m just excited to be back and I want to help this ball club get some wins,” Stefanic said. “If was definitely a challenge to get hurt in my second game, but I’m ready to get after it and get some hits.”
You had such a good start to the season in Burlington, how did you feel about your time there?
“It was good, I definitely started well this season and I really enjoyed the guys down there in Burlington they were great,” Stefanic said. “The guys here have been just as good to me. They are fun to play with. I just want to prove everyone that I can play.”
How do you like being part of the Angels organization?
“I love it, it is a great organization to be a part of. Everything that they preach here is top notch,” Stefanic said. “We have the best player in baseball in Mike Trout. Now they are focusing on getting players ready to go up there and help him out.”
What are your goals for this season?
“The goal I had at the beginning of the season was to end the season here (Inland Empire), but obviously those goals have changed now that I’m here,” Stefanic said. “It’s always interesting coming up to a new level and trying to gel with the guys, but I am adjusting and I’m starting to feel comfortable. Now I just want to do well.”
What do you like the most about being with the Angels?
“The thing I like the most is that if you do well in this organization you will get moved up. It doesn’t matter if you are a first-rounder or a free agent guy like me you have a chance to advance,” Stefanic said. “Being an Angel is a great thrill for me.”
Well Michael we are happy you are with the Angels and wish you well this season.