Report: Angels sign Maitan, the top prospect Braves lost due to major infractions
Maitan is a high-upside shortstop, but he's likely still years away from MLB
Back on Nov. 21, Major League Baseball came down hard on the Braves for violations in the international free agent market. The biggest penalty was former Braves general manager John Coppolella getting a permanent ban from baseball.
The biggest impact to player personnel was that 12 international signings from the Braves were released back into the free agency pool. The biggest name was shortstop Kevin Maitan, a 17-year-old Venezuelan who entered last season considered a top-40 prospect in all of baseball by MLB.com. Maitan now has a new organization, per Buster Olney of ESPN.com.
For those wondering about the Angels' being one of the seven finalists for Japanese two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani, this likely doesn't impact that. The Angels can use their international bonus pool money from last year for Ohtani and this coming year for Maitan.
How much for Maitan? It'll be $2.2 million, according to multiple reports (including MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez). Quite a pay day for the kid, who gets an extra $2.2 million thanks to the Braves getting caught skirting the rules.
As for Maitan's fit on the Angels, don't worry about that, either. He's a long-term prospect. Only 17 years old, Maitan got 176 at-bats in Rookie Ball last season, hitting .241/.290/.340. It often takes international signings of this age four or five years to fully develop and we could even see multiple position changes along the way.
Another aspect to this story is the Angels' farm system has been considered relatively void of top-shelf talent these past few years, making trades that improve the big-league roster tough without taking on tons of salary (hello Justin Upton). Adding a name like Maitan here means the Angels add someone toward the top of their system who could be used in a big-time trade in 2018-20.
The Angels could also keep and develop Maitan.
Regardless, this is a win for the Angels organization -- and Maitan's bottom line -- one that was made possible by improprieties of the past Braves' front office.
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