LA Angels forgotten prospect Kevin Matian is slowly developing into a potential major leaguer

Los Angeles Angels, (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Angels, (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

LA Angels prospect Kevin Maitan was the top international prospect for the Atlanta Braves when he was selected in the International Draft in July 2016 from Venezuela.

LA Angels #20 prospect Kevin Maitan was given a signing bonus by the Braves of 4.25 million at age 16. He was ranked as the top International player in all of Major League Baseball at the time.  With all the hype came a lot of lofty expectations.  Maitan knew he had to work hard to reach his full potential, but after only one year in the Braves organization the MLB levied sanctions on the Braves for signing International Free Agents when they were too young.

This ruling made Maitan a free agent and the Angels were able to sign him in the Winter of 2018. Maitan played in 2018 for Orem and hit .248 with eight homers and 26 RBIs.  Not a bad beginning with the Angels. In 2019 Maitan played third base almost exclusively for the Low-Single-A Burlington Bees and did fairly well despite a low batting average of .216.  Maitan hit 12 homers and drove in 46 runs with seven stolen bases. He played 21 games at second base and 90 games at third base and performed decently at both positions.

Maitan will most likely get an invite to Spring Training in 2020 and probably start the season in High Single-A Inland Empire.  If Maitan performs well he could end up at Double-A before the season ends. He may not be ready for the majors in 2020, but he could be there in 2021 or 2022.  We will see what happens.  I caught up with Maitan toward the end of the 2019 season  and here is what he said.

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How do you feel how you have done so far with the Angels?

“it’s been a lot more work here with the Angels than when I played for the Braves. I’m trying to get better every day and give it my best to help the team win,” Maitan said through a translator. “It took a little while to get used to my teammates here, but I like it. I had my ups and downs this season, but I feel that I am improving and that’s what I want to do.”

You where drafted as a shortstop, but you have now switched to third base, how has the transition been for you and which do you like better?

"“The Angels switched me to third base in the middle of last season and it was very difficult at first to adjust to the ball coming at you much faster and I had to learn to react quicker,” Maitan said. “This year I feel much more comfortable at third base and I like playing there much more now. I feel like I can still get better, but I’m happy with the progress I’ve made.”"

How do you feel about playing in an organization with guys like Trout, Pujols, and Ohtani? Have they or anyone else helped you so far?

“It’s great to have guys like that Trout and Pujols who will be Hall of Famers. I got a chance to met them and talk to them which was pretty cool,” Maitan said. “Luis Rengifo and Andrelton Simmons have helped me the most and given me a lot of good advice. I would be a little nervous to one day be playing in the majors with those guys. I just want to keep playing the game I love and one day make it to the majors.”

What do you want Angel fans to know about Kevin Maitan? 

“That I will always work hard and have a good attitude and not get mad at my teammates,” Maitan said. “I also like to listen to my music very loud and have fun while playing the game the best that I can.”

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Keep your eye on Maitan.  Even though he is now a third baseman and the Angels have committed to Anthony Rendon for seven seasons, it is possible that Maitan could be converted to another spot if he shows he can hit and is ready to be moved up into the big leagues.