The Angels announced that they have selected the contract of infielder Michael Stefanic. Infielder Tyler Wade has been designated for assignment as the corresponding move.
Stefanic, 26, was signed by the Angels as an undrafted free agent back in 2018. Since then, he has worked his way up the minor league ladder, garnering attention for his contact and on-base abilities, though without offering much in the power department. In 46 games at Triple-A this year, he’s hit just a single home run but has a 11.9% walk rate against just a 5.7% strikeout rate. That’s resulted in a slash line of .320/.410/.399, 113 wRC+. He did manage 16 homers at Triple-A last year, but that’s the outlier on his ledger, as he’s never hit more than three in any other season of his career.
Despite that lack of power, the contact skills have been enough to garner some attention from prospect evaluators. Baseball America considered Stefanic the 14th-best prospect in the system in their most recent update, with FanGraphs currently ranking him 26th and comparing him to Nick Madrigal.
Defensively, Stefanic is ticketed for utility duty, as he’s played every infield position, as well as brief appearances in the outfield corners. However, the reports from both BA and FG note that he’s not an excellent defender anywhere, not even his primary position of second base.
For the Angels, they’re likely interested in taking that tradeoff, as they’ve had poor production from their non-first-base infielders this year. The infield group was weak on paper coming into the season and has since lost David Fletcher, Matt Duffy and Anthony Rendon to the IL, with Rendon’s injury being season-ending. As a result, the club’s overall second base output comes in at .227/.276/.308. That amounts to a wRC+ of 67, placing them 25th in the majors in that regard. Adding a bat-first player like Stefanic will hopefully give a boost to the offensive production from the dirt.
Stefanic is the second recent addition to the Angels’ infield, as the club signed Jonathan Villar yesterday. The two of them will bolster a group that consists of Luis Rengifo, Andrew Velazquez and David MacKinnon to cover second base, third base and shortstop. The club is 37-43, six games back of a playoff spot in the American League. With the August 2 trade deadline now less than a month away, they will surely be hoping for a solid stretch of play to get themselves into a firmer buyer position before then.
As for Wade, he was traded from the Yankees to the Angels in November of last year. During his time in the Bronx, he earned a reputation as a glove-first player, hitting .212/.298/.307 for a wRC+ of 68. Despite that lackluster offensive production, he was at least a valuable bench player given his versatility, lining up at second base, third base, shortstop and all three outfield positions. Although Wade changed uniforms, his game stayed largely the same this season. He has taken the field at those six positions again this year, while hitting .218/.272/.272 for a wRC+ of 57. The Angels are apparently looking for a little more thump in their lineup, swapping out a glove-first player for a bat-first one.
Wade surpassed three years of MLB service time last year, allowing him to qualify for arbitration for the first time. He and the Angels agreed to a salary of $825K, just a bit north of the $700K league minimum. The Angels will have one week to trade him or put him through waivers. Should he clear waivers, he would be eligible to reject an outright assignment and return to free agency, by virtue of having surpassed three years’ service time. However, doing so would mean forfeiting the remainder of his salary, as players need more than five years’ service to reject an assignment while still being guaranteed the money owed to them through their contracts.
J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group reported the selection of Stefanic prior to the official announcement (Twitter links). Wade also revealed his DFA to reporters, including Sam Blum of the Athletic, prior to the announcement.
Poor Tyler, he’s not even mentioned much in this article.
Tyler had the most narrow skill set I’ve seen from a MLB player. Handsome man, exceptional bunter, the end.
Good bunter and great stealing bases.
Great at getting caught stealing tho also
We were at the game the other day and the profile note on the jumbo tron was that Tyler Wades mother is a hair dresser. Mike Trouts profile touted that he’s a multi MVP winner. I don’t need to explain further that this move was long overdue.
Angels & NL West
dirkg, in Wade’s defense, his mother is a very good hair stylist. Word on the street is that she has been “Stylist of the Month” on multiple occasions.
Yeah I think the tip off is that Mike Trout is sponsored by Nike while Tyler is rocking a sponsorship from Pantene.
Dumpster Divin Theo
Hairdresser on fire
Yay for Stefanic! Love his contact oriented approach, and yeah pretty much a Madrigal slap hitter high contact guy.
Really wanted him to get called up last year when he just randomly popped 16 homers in triple AAA last year when his scouting report is like 2-3 HR pop
Good. Tyler Wade best asset is his speed which is less valuable because he’s never leaned to slide. And every day Rengifo is not in the lineup is a good day for the aAngels. Stefanic will at least give me an another Angel to watch.
Unless it’s the last two weeks when Rengifo has been one of your better hitters, slashing .314/.340/.529.
Much needed production for sure!!
I seldom pay attention to small sample sizes when I have big sample sizes. Rengifo stinks. He especially stinks in big situations.
Except that those small sample sizes from a young player can be an indication of growth. Rengifo was not a top 100 prospect for obvious reasons, but he’s been around long enough to where he could finally be figuring it out and could likely be a Maicer Izturis-type they badly need.
Glad for Stefanic. Why is Velasquez still on this team batting .167?
Because he’s the only player on this team who can play shortstop. A terrible mistake by a Perry this off-season.
Nope, sorry. Nobody gets to play the “Angels didn’t sign a SS” card. Look at the production of Correa, Seager, Semien, Story, and Baez, and look at how loudly the fans would be screaming with *another* player getting $20M to $35M annually, the budget is blown, how will the team afford to sign Ohtani, etc.
For all the hype those 5 received in the off-season, none has lived up to his salary. Semien and Baez especially have been bad values. The Angels are going to need to develop their own Jeremy Peña, just as they did a decade ago, instead of paying top dollar for an opted-out Correa or Trea Turner.
I like his defense but sheesh. He is literally and automatic out.
The problem is there isn’t an alternative. Perry’s unforced error.
He needs to stop making unforced errors. I can forgive the bullpen this year because he at least tried. He has no excuse for this middle infield.
This years middle infield is last years bullpen.
Good. We know Wade isn’t the answer. To be fair, Wade would probably be a decent bench player. It’s not his fault Perry built such a shallow infield.
Wade is nothing more than a utility infielder and late inning pinch-runner. Just like Velazquez is nothing more than a late inning defensive replacement. These guys have no business starting regularly in an MLB lineup.
Yep. We had one hole in the infield when Spring Training started. Perry likely hoped he’d catch lightning in the bottle with one of Squid, Wade, or Mayfield.
Fletcher went down, so there were two holes.
Rendon went down and there’s three.
With absolutely no depth, the Angels had to start guys like Wade.
Bout F’n time!!
First Angel to wear Jersey #14 since Scioscia departed. Good riddance, two months too late.
Velazquez should have been DFA’d. I’d rather go with Villar at SS, Rengifo at 2B and Stefanic at 3B.
angels fan for life
This year has to be the worst year in free Agency we should got a top rate shortstop . They better start trading or your not make the playoff
They cant afford to sign one. Shohei will get at least 25 mil in his last year of arbitration and will likely get 40 mil + a year if they resign him.
Angels & NL West
Stefanic fills a void with his bat to ball skills as the Angels have alot of swing and miss guys in their lineup. Bad year for to contact guys like Rendon and Fletcher to go down. That said, it’s always a bad year for injuries when you lack quality depth.
They’re closer in record to the Cubs than wildcard, and they’re in full rebuild mode. i hate when they call up their latest AAA guy closer to 30 than 20 and Gubizsa and ONeil hype the guy as the next Mantle. They fly the friends and family in for a game at the big A and makes for great TV. “He’s fulfilling his dream, etc”Then its sink or swim and then send him back down or release time. They seem more interest in this than the playoffs.
Cashman, don’t even think about bringing him back. Just don’t.
I totally expect him back in NY. He’ll probably opt out and Cashman will offer him a minor league deal for the salary that he lost (like $300k) and then stash him in WilkesBarre.
You and I watch the show, you know it’s happening…
Adding emergency depth in AAA is a good thing, and something Cashman does a lot, although Cashman kicked both Wade and Velazquez out the back door before he even had replacements for them last offseason.
Michael Stefanic was the Bee’s best overall player last season. He doesn’t strike out much and has moderate power. I hope the Angels give him enough playing time to prove himself..
Arte needs to seriously consider selling the team. He cannot get out of the loser basement, and his choice of GM’s is, well, just plain bad. I think he fired the wrong honcho from the top. Joe Maddon didn’t build that team, Perry did. Piss poor management.