Angels win big by signing star prospect set free in Braves punishment

Kevin Maitan, the ex-Braves prospect, has struck a new deal with the Angels after MLB declared him a free agent because of the Braves’ rule-skirting. (AP)

Kevin Maitan, the 17-year-old shortstop prospect recently thrust into free agency after MLB punished the Atlanta Braves for breaking international signing rules, has found a new home with the Los Angeles Angels. And the Angels’ underwhelming farm system now has a new top prospect.

ESPN’s Buster Olney first reported the deal was in place and MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez says it’s for $2.2 million.


Maitan is one of the more unusual cases among baseball’s current crop of free agents. He was a highly sought-after teen prospect from Venezuela who signed with the Atlanta Braves back in the summer of 2016 for $4.25 million. But when an investigation this fall found the Braves broke international signing rules, Maitan was one of 12 players declared a free agent by MLB. He was also the player other teams most hoped to sign.

He chose the Angels, and this should be considered a win for them, since their farm system has been particularly barren in recent years. Maitan ranks No. 38 on MLB.com’s Top 100 prospect list. That will make him the Angels’ No. 1 prospect immediately, as their previous top prospect, Jo Adell, wasn’t even in the Top 100. It’s also a win for Maitan, who has now pulled in $6.45 million of bonus money.

One question that’s not clear: Are the Angels using money from his year’s international bonus pool or their 2018 pool? Their 2017 international allotment is what they’re using to chase Japanese star Shohei Ohtani. If they were to sign Ohtani, they could use 2018 money on Maitan. If they don’t sign Ohtani, then it really doesn’t matter too much.

Maitan still figures to be years away from the big leagues, as he only made his rookie-league debut in 2017. Still, it’s been a while since the Angels had a big-name prospect among their ranks.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!