According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Angels have agreed to terms with infield prospect Kevin Maitan. The former Braves prospect was declared a free agent by MLB as a result of the circumvention of international signing rules by the Atlanta organization. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports the agreement is for $2.2 million.
Among the 12 prospects that were stripped from the Braves, Maitan was regarded as the best of the bunch. He was the prospect with the most hype, but he struggled in his first season after coming to the United States. Originally a shortstop, the young prospect has seen his body mature and develop and many scouts assume his future home on the defensive diamond will be at third base. His bat will more than profile at the hot-corner, making him an impact prospect, should he continue to develop.
It should be noted that the Angels are one of the teams still in play for Japanese star Shohei Ohtani. Since Maitan was stripped from the Braves, teams are able to dip in next years international signing pool to sign any of the 12 declared free agents, so this does not rule out the team as a potential suitor for Ohtani going forward.
This is quite a coup for the Angels, even if the team fails to sign Ohtani. Maitan likely becomes the top prospect in the organization, a system that has been looking for an overhaul for some time. While his shine may have dimmed some after struggling in rookie ball, many scouts compared him to fellow Venezuelan countryman Miguel Cabrera for a reason and he is well-regarded, especially as a switch-hitter with power from both sides.