As a reliever, you have set roles in the bullpen. Nick Maronde did not start his career as a reliever, but is now, and is a gifted left-handed specialist. He has seen time in the Majors but is still at the Double-A level learning to develop himself. It is unspecified whether he'll be a full-time Angels reliever next season, or a part of the farm system, but it will help now with the American League Western Division getting new left-handed hitters with some serious bang.
Maronde has a pair of fastballs that sit in the low to mid 90's, which is good for a lefty. Maronde picked up a slight bit of velocity to his four-seam fastball over the past season and made him lose a slight amount of control while kicking back for extra gas. His four-seam sits mostly around 93-94. His two-seam breaks well away from right-handed batters and sits at 90-92.
Maronde has a high-end slider with a full sliding motion with a late drop. We say sliding because it breaks away from left-handed batters from the get go and all the way to the catcher's glove. This pitch sits in the mid 80's.
Maronde's changeup needs work on his follow through. This is one of the reasons he has been in the bullpen as opposed to the rotation.
Maronde has outstanding control on his slider, and has learned to command his fastball well lately after picking up some velocity. Control and command have never been much of a problem for Maronde, which will help him excel at the next level.
What makes Maronde such a good pitcher is his aggressive approach from the mound. You tend to hear the word approach with hitters, but Maronde has it from the mound. He is a "get the job done" kind of pitcher, and tries to get counts in his favor immediately, but still manages to paint the corners.
We haven't seen a player grow and progress like Maronde. He was drafted in the third round of the 2011 draft, and was sent to Rookie Ball where he posted a 2.14 earned run average and 1.101 WHIP while striking out nearly ten per nine.
2012 was something unique for Maronde. He began the season with three starts in Rookie Ball allowing one earned run, then made an immediate jump to High-A. In ten starts in High-A, Maronde put up some of the best numbers the league had seen with a .910 WHIP and 1.82 WHIP.
Maronde's 2012 wasn't done at that point either as he jumped to Double-A quickly, and appeared seven times (five starts) with a 3.34 earned run average and 1.299 WHIP. He never really dropped off, and on September 1st after the Texas League season ended, Maronde got a callup to the Majors, and appeared 12 times. While being a lefty specialist in the Majors at such a young age and young spot in his career, he posted a 1.50 earned run average with a 1.500 WHIP over just 6.0 innings.
2013 was similar for Maronde. He spent the majority of the 2013 season in Double-A, making 41 relief appearances, putting up a 3.51 earned run average, and with his walk count escalating quickly, his WHIP went up to 1.385. With a pair of callups, Maronde spent ten games with the big club, and it didn't go as well as his first time up. Maronde finished the 2013 season with a 6.75 earned run average and 2.250 WHIP while in the Majors.
EXPECTED OF THE FUTURE:
The Angels have been aggressive with Maronde, and it will be a mystery as to if he'll join the big club out of Spring Training or will be a part of the farm system still. We expect Maronde to spend most of his time in 2014 in Triple-A, with some callups over the season.
With the new bats in the American League West from the left-side of the plate (Prince Fielder, Shin Soo Choo, Robinson Cano), Maronde could be an asset as a left-handed specialist. He's seen Major League time already, and could be a full-time member of the bullpen in 2014. It is more likely that his "breakout" season will be 2015, when he can really shut down left-handed bats, but he will see Major League time in 2014.
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