Rookie Review: Nick Maronde, LHP, Los Angeles Angels
The Los Angeles Angels promoted left-handed pitching Nick Maronde to the major league team for the stretch run. He's been excellent in his first two outings, facing four major league hitters and striking out all four of them. This caps an outstanding season for the 23-year-old lefty.
He began the season with Inland Empire in the High-A California League, posting a 1.82 ERA in 10 starts with a 60/14 K/BB ratio in 59 innings, allowing just 40 hits. He lost a few weeks of pitching time with a lateral strain, but showed no ill effects on his return. Promoted to Double-A Arkansas in the Texas League, he posted a 3.34 ERA with a 21/3 K/BB in 32 innings.
Overall, between High-A, Double-A, and a few rookie ball rehab innings, Maronde went 6-4, 2.26 this year with a 90/19 K/BB in 100 innings, allowing just 82 hits.
Maronde is a 6-3, 205 pound lefty, born September 5th, 1989. He began his college career as a starter at the University of Florida in 2009, but moved to the bullpen in '10 and struggled. He made huge improvements in his control in '11, posting a 2.09 ERA with a 55/9 K/BB in 43 innings with 27 hits allowed, which was enough to get drafted in the third round last June. The Angels returned him to starting and so far he's handling the workload well, strained lat aside.
He works with a low-to-mid-90s fastball (generally 91-94), a plus slider, and a changeup that has improved over the last year, although he hasn't shown it in the majors yet. He's got ideal pitcher size, throws strikes, and deserves a lot more attention than he's received. I had him rated as a B- pre-season but he's a solid Grade B now.
Although he's being used in relief in September, I think he has a future as a starter in the long run, projecting as a number three type if the changeup continues to show progress.
This article includes material originally published in early August but revised to incorporate end-of-season data and additional analysis.