San Bernardino, California —— At the top of this post, watch our scouting video of Los Angeles Angels #1 prospect Matt Thaiss, a catcher/first baseman, taken from a mid-April 2017 series playing for the High-A California League’s Inland Empire 66ers against the visiting Lake Elsinore Storm. Also, subscribe to the Baseball Census YouTube channel for thousands more videos like this one.
Matt Thaiss scouting report notes
A well-balanced hitter both in approach and in physical mechanics, Matt Thaiss is the Los Angeles Angels’ top prospect for a reason—and he’s starting to get hot in High-A with the Inland Empire 66ers accordingly. Hitting just .164 entering play on April 23, Thaiss got hot this week with nine hits, a home run, six RBI, four walks, and just one strikeout over his last over his most recent 20 at-bats entering play Saturday night. That’s about what to expect from the catcher-turned-first baseman, who has a mature understanding of the game thanks to his stellar career at the University of Virginia before being drafted by the Los Angeles Angels.
Thaiss does it all from a wide, low stance at the plate, as you can see in his video above. It reminds me a great deal of Colorado Rockies outfield prospect Raimel Tapia, interestingly enough, though that’s about the only similarity between these two prospects’ games. Thaiss’ contact skills are phenomenal, and he takes an approach more mature than you’d expect from a 21-year-old, though that’s no doubt a product of his major college experience. His bat speed is above-average and his stroke is compact to the ball and long through it with his barrel staying in the zone quite a while—all signs that Matt Thaiss could produce above-average power numbers soon from the left side of the plate.
The Angels have him working at first base rather than his college position behind the plate, and it seems Thaiss has taken to it well, even just making several smooth, advanced plays at the position during our observations on him in that mid-April three-game set against Lake Elsinore. His hands are soft and his footwork is good at first, both good signs regarding Thaiss’ overall athleticism coming out from behind the plate.
Long term, Thaiss—who is currently the Los Angeles Angels’ #1 prospect—is right on track to be the first baseman of the future in Los Angeles. Whether it’s this year or in the coming seasons, I think he’ll develop significant power and will hold his own in the middle of a lineup. His barrel skills are good, he turns out to have the makings of a pretty decent defensive first baseman, and his mature approach will all help him along the way.
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Matt Thaiss scouting report: 140 characters or less
Surprisingly smooth at first base, Matt Thaiss will move quickly thanks to an advanced approach at the plate and good, raw power.
Matt Thaiss scouting report video
Here’s a look at our most recent Matt Thaiss video, taken during a mid-April series for the 66ers against the San Diego Padres’ affiliate Lake Elsinore Storm:
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Matt Thaiss scouting report GIFs
In addition to our video clips, we broke out some Matt Thaiss baseball GIFs for a deeper look at swing mechanics, etc.:
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