On Monday the Los Angeles Angels promoted infielder Nolan Fontana to the major league roster and inserted him into the starting lineup in last night’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays. He went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Here’s a quick take on what to expect from Fontana going forward.
Fontana was originally drafted by the Houston Astros in the second round in 2012 from the University of Florida. College baseball aficionados were quite familiar with him after his three-year career with the Gators, Fontana drawing notice for his plate discipline and solid glove.
He drew 105 walks in High-A in 2013 although his overall .259/.415/.399 line wasn’t great by Lancaster/California League standards. Moved up to Double-A in 2014 he hit .262/.418/.376 for Corpus Christi, more impressive than what he did in the Cal League when context is considered, then posted a .241/.369/.357 mark in the PCL in ‘15. His ‘16 season was very disappointing: he hit only .195/.268/.262 in a return Triple-A engagement.
The Angels claimed him on waivers last fall and he was hitting .265/.374/.426 in 136 at-bats for Triple-A Salt Lake.
Fontana is listed at 5-11, 195, a left-handed hitter, born June 6th, 1991 in Winter Garden, Florida. His profile really hasn’t changed since college. His best offensive attribute is an extremely good eye for the strike zone and a high walk rate, but he lacks consistent power and has hit for mediocre-to-poor batting averages in the high minors. There’s no particular reason to believe this will change.
As a defender his range at shortstop is a bit limited, but he’s reliable on routine plays. He’s quite good as a defensive second baseman and has held his own when used at third base, giving him the glove flexibility to be a utility infielder.
Here’s a hustle-based inside-the-park homer from earlier this year.