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2021 Angels Player Review: Matt Thaiss

Despite being drafted as a catcher, Thaiss spent his career with the Halos largely as a first/third baseman before going back to a catcher full time at the end of the 2021 season

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Cleveland Indians Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Thaiss was drafted by the Angels in the first round of the 2016 draft as the 16th overall pick. Being mainly drafted for his bat, as soon as he joined the organization, he was moved to first base and also saw playing time at third. Thaiss, who bats left and throws right, worked his way through the Halos minor league system and made his MLB debut on July 3, 2019 against the Texas Rangers, doubling in his first at bat. In spring training for the 2021 season, Thaiss returned to catching for the first time since being drafted and made progress in Triple A for most of the year.

He was recalled from Salt Lake on July 28th and played in two major league games before being optioned on August 2nd. He was recalled by the club again on September 30th and played in his final MLB game of the season on October 2nd.

Thaiss spent the majority of the season with the Bees and finished with a .280/.383/.879 slash line in 379 ABs, accumulating 106 hits, 17 home runs, 69 RBIs, and 2 stolen bases. He had pretty even splits at home (.279/.385/.423) versus on the road (.218/.381/.579) and was slightly better against righties (.285/.398/.534) than against lefties (.265/.342/.392).

2021 Stats:

3 Games / 7 AB / .143 Avg. / .250 OBP / .143 SLG / .393 OPS / 1 H / 0 HR / 0 RBI / 1 R / 0 2B / 0 3B / 1 BB / 0 SB

Best Offensive Performance of the Year:

Thaiss’s best offensive performance in the 2021 season at the major league level came on July 31st when he accumulated his sole hit and walk. It was against the Athletics at home in a tight 1-0 win on one of Shohei Ohtani’s double-duty days. Thaiss singled into right field in the bottom of the third inning, and then advanced to second on a David Fletcher single, which allowed him to come home to score the only run of the game off of Ohtani’s double.

Also worth mentioning is Thaiss’s best performance of his minor league season, which came on June 7th against the Tacoma Rainiers (AAA affiliate of the Seattle Mariners) on the road. Thaiss went 3-4 with 5 RBIs, 1 walk, 1 triple, and 2 homeruns. His offensive outburst helped propel the team to a commanding 9-2 win.

Best Defensive Performance of the Year:

Thaiss’s best defensive performance of the year came on August 1st, the day of Reid Detmers MLB debut, at home against the Athletics. Despite losing the game 8-3, Thaiss recorded 8 putouts and 1 assist while playing the entire game at first base.

Roster Status:

Thaiss was recalled three days before the end of the season on September 30th and finished the season with the major league team. He is currently on the 40 man roster, and has gone back to being a full time catcher, and is listed as such along with Max Stassi. Matt Thaiss, at 26 years old, is currently pre-arbitration, and has two waiver options. He will rejoin the team next season, and if he will be on the Halos or Bees will be seen based on his performance and if the Angels make any other moves after the lockout.

2021 Overall Grade: C-