Continuing my countdown of the Atlanta Braves top prospects, today we take a look at Kevin Maitan. Previous scouting reports (since I arrived at Outfield Fly Rule):
Kevin Maitan, SS
2016 Level: Instructional League
Maitan is an international amateur free agent signing out of Venezuela for a franchise record $4.25 million bonus. Maitan was rated the #1 prospect in the 2016 international signing class by Baseball America, and there had been heavy buzz around his potential as early as 2014, when he was only 14 years old. By July 2 of 2015, it was essentially an open secret that Atlanta and Maitan had a handshake agreement in place. Rumors that the Nationals and Cardinals tried to poach him remain unsubstantiated.
What makes Maitan so intriguing is his overall package of tools, athleticism, and baseball intelligence. At age 16, he’s already man-sized at 6’-2”. 175 pounds (and that’s probably out of date at this point), which points to possible prodigious power. That power has been seen in circuit games, where he also has demonstrated advanced pitch recognition and approach. He has also shown above average speed, but that’s the most likely tool to drop as he physically matures. So far, that speed has allowed him to play shortstop well enough, given his overall athleticism and plus arm. Reports from instructional league play last month were that Maitan acquitted himself well at the position. That said, an eventual move to a corner is still likely.
Maitan may be a consensus Top 100 prospect in baseball before he’s played his first pro game. The adage “there’s no such thing as a can’t-miss prospect” is undoubtedly true, and that applies to Maitan as much as anyone. That said, when scouts are comparing a 16-year-old to the likes of Miguel Cabrera, Miguel Sano, or Chipper Jones, it’s worth paying attention to, and Maitan will start his professional career in 2017 as the most-hyped Braves prospect since Jones joined the organization in 1990. Maitan will likely start his journey in the Gulf Coast League.