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Michael Stefanic Resembles A Past Angels Prospect

Slightly undersized and massively overlooked. A late-bloomer with an improving bat and the ability to play multiple positions.

The career arc of 25-year-old second baseman Michael Stefanic is beginning to resemble that of another Angels prospect who had a notoriously low ceiling but who made good in the big leagues.

It’s natural to compare Stefanic to David Fletcher, a 2015 sixth-round pick who broke into the Angels' lineup as a utility player in 2018, but if Stefanic does follow in Fletcher’s footsteps to Anaheim, he’ll blaze an even more improbable path.

Stefanic was not drafted in 2018 despite starring at NAIA Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif. He batted .383/.448/.519 with five home runs and 22 stolen bases in 101 games as a junior and senior.

As disappointing as the snub was, Stefanic, a native of Boise, Idaho, did not give up on his dream of playing professional baseball. He sent his résumé and prospect video to all 30 clubs, and the Angels were impressed enough to sign him as a nondrafted free agent.

The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Stefanic showed immediate promise, batting .351 in a 14-game look in Rookie ball in 2018.

Stefanic, like Fletcher, is a high-contact righthanded hitter, but he used the down time during the pandemic in 2020 to refine his approach and swing in an effort to hit fewer ground balls and more fly balls.

As he learned to identify his hot zones, he began laying off pitches he couldn’t drive and swinging at more pitches he could hit with authority.

Stefanic began the 2021 season at Double-A Rocket City. He hit .345 in 21 games to earn a promotion to Triple-A Sale Lake, where his power began to emerge.

On the season, Stefanic hit .336/.408/.493 with 17 home runs, 26 doubles, 52 walks and 77 strikeouts in 125 games. Third base was his secondary position, but he saw time at every field position but catcher and center field.

Stefanic isn't flashy or rangy afield, but his versatility, batting potential and determination give him a chance to earn a big league role.

Samad Taylor Mikejanesfourseam

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