The Los Angeles Angels are finall making the call on one of their most highly touted infield prospects, second baseman Michael Stefanic. After several years of raking at the Minor League level, his chance to shine for the Angels is coming to fruition.
The Halos remain in desperate need of consistent infield bats. The team agreed to terms with infielder Jonathan Villar earlier in the week, and he’s slated to make his Angels debut on Sunday against the Houston Astros.
Now, as it turns out, Stefanic is joining him in the infield for the series finale in Houston. According to Jeff Fletcher of the O.C. Register, Stefanic is starting and playing second base on Sunday morning:
Michael Stefanic is here and playing 2B today. No lineup posted yet, so we don’t know where he’s hitting. (He told us he’s playing 2b.)
— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) July 3, 2022
Stefanic has been one of the team’s best Minor League hitters over the past several years. In 2019, he batted .333 with an .831 OPS for Single-A Burlington. Last season, those numbers were a .345 batting average and .843 OPS in Double-A Rocket City.
For those years, the concern with Stefanic was a lack of power in his bat. But when he got to Triple-A Salt Lake, the power came through, as his .334 batting average came with a .913 OPS, hitting 16 home runs and 21 doubles. So far in 2022, he’s batting .320 with an .808 OPS.
If he can continue this type of production at the Major League level, he would be a savior for the Angels infield. The Angels 6-9 spots in the order have an OPS over 100 points below league average. Getting Stefanic — and potentially Villar — to raise those numbers are critical to the team’s offensive success.
Infielder Tyler Wade is being Designated for Assignment in order to make room on the roster for Stefanic.
This roster move shows that Stefanic is hopefully here to stay, and he’ll have his first chance to make an impact as the Angels look to avoid a sweep against the Astros. They have lost the first two games of the series by a combined score of 17-2.
Trout, Ohtani advance to Phase 2 of All-Star Voting
They have not yet qualified to start for the All-Star Game, but Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani are moving forward to the next phase of voting, increasing the likelihood that one or both will be named starters.
Sadly, breakout outfielder Taylor Ward did not receive enough votes to qualify for Phase 2, meaning he’ll have to be voted in as a reserve.