With the 16th pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, the Los Angeles Angels selected Matt Thaiss. While he wasn't the worst pick in that first round, as there're some players who haven't even cracked the bigs yet, things haven't gone great for Thaiss in Anaheim.
Thaiss was drafted as a catcher but has been mostly a first baseman in the pros. He was called up for the first time in 2019 as a first baseman and appeared in a career-high 53 games. He slashed .211/.293/.422 with eight home runs and 23 RBI in those games. He struck out 52 times and had an 86 OPS+. The power was solid, but other than that, it was a struggle for Thaiss offensively to say the least.
He's gotten cups of coffee in each of the last three seasons and hasn't fared much better. He played in 29 games this past season and slashed .217/.321/.319 with two home runs and eight RBI. He had an 84 OPS+. He has an 81 OPS+ in 93 career MLB games.
What should the Angels do with Matt Thaiss?
Thaiss caught at the big league level for the first time this past season and appeared in 14 games at that position. The Angels had a need there, and he filled it for a moment.
If Thaiss has a future with the Angels, it'd likely have to be at that position. The Halos traded for Gio Urshela who likely slots in as a first baseman while Anthony Rendon is healthy. They also have Jared Walsh who needs at-bats and is way better than Thaiss.
At catcher, the hope is that Logan O'Hoppe cracks the Opening Day roster as the number one catcher. Max Stassi is either going to start or back up as he signed an extension last season.
If O'Hoppe makes the roster, what exactly is there for Thaiss to do? He'd be the third option at two different positions. I ask this only because he is out of options. If the Angels were to deem he wasn't a fit, he'd have to be designated for assignment and could be claimed off of waivers by any team.
Thaiss will probably stick around for now, as we don't know how O'Hoppe will perform. If O'hoppe struggles mightily in the Spring, I suppose Thaiss could be the backup catcher for a month or two, but a Stassi-Thaiss tandem doesn't bring me a lot of confidence.
What do you think? Would you want Thaiss on the Opening Day roster, whether it's as the backup catcher or the third-string option?