Two weeks ago, the Atlanta Braves were hammered by Major League Baseball for multiple violations of the bonus rules regarding the signing of international prospects. Several Braves prospects were freed from their contracts, most notably infielder Kevin Maitan.
The Los Angeles Angels were the first beneficiaries, the Angels signing Maitan today to a bonus of $2,200,000 according to Jesse Sanchez at MLB.com.
Maitan was originally signed by the Braves out of Venezuela in 2016 for $4,250,000; he gets to keep the bonus money from his first contract. His pro debut in 2017 was not particularly successful, as noted by the report filed back in November as part of the Braves Top 20 Prospects for 2018 list.
13) Kevin Maitan, SS, Grade B/B-: Age 17, signed from Venezuela for $4,250,000 in 2016; drew praise as a future superstar as an amateur but struggled in pro debut, hitting .220/.273/.323 with nine walks, 39 strikeouts in 127 at-bats in Appalachian League, also had problems on defense; scouting reports weren’t much better than the numbers, with bat speed, strike zone judgment, physical conditioning, and overall athleticism all worse than advertised; he is still very young of course and was making a big jump in competition but not everyone responds well to being rushed and Maitan did not; likely moving to third base; fall reports say he is in better physical condition now but still take a “wait and see” attitude with the bat.
It should be noted that some Hall of Famers like Chipper Jones and Derek Jeter played poorly in rookie ball without it harming their long-term outlook but even so it is clear that Maitan will need more time than expected.
I’m more concerned about the reported change in his body type and reports of swing problems than I am in the raw numbers. He still has a high ceiling, but higher risk than it looked a year ago; good example of why it is wise to be wary of hype regarding 16 year olds. ETA 2022.
I had Maitan ranked 13th in the Braves system. Autumn reports indicate that Maitan is in better physical condition than he was over the summer, a good first step towards restoring some of his luster as a prospect.
The Angels system is much thinner than Atlanta’s and Maitan is a good addition to the organization despite his shaky debut.