The Angels have bolstered their weak farm system by agreeing to terms with 17-year-old shortstop prospect Kevin Maitan, according to multiple reports.
Maitan is the best of the 12 prospects declared a free agent by MLB last month as punishment for breaking the rules on international signings. MLB.com ranks him as the No. 38 prospect in all of baseball, though he had a disappointing first season in pro ball.
Maitan instantly becomes the best prospect in a depleted Angels system—and by a large margin. No other Angels prospect is ranked in MLB.com’s top 100. Outfielder Jo Adell, the tenth pick in this year’s draft, was considered the team’s top prospect before the acquisition of Maitan. (Baseball America ranked Adell as its No. 97 prospect and Maitan at No. 72.)
It is important to note that signing Maitan will have no impact on the Angels’ pursuit of Shohei Ohtani. Because the 12 prospects were declared free agents between signing periods, teams are allowed to use international bonus pool money from either this year or next. The Angels acquired $1.21 million in international spending money by trading for Braves reliever Jim Johnson last week, bringing their available total to $1.315 million. The $2.2 million bonus Maitan is set to receive, therefore, must be from next year’s pool. They still have $1.315 million to offer Ohtani, though the Japanese superstar does not appear to be concerned with money.