Rookie Nick Maronde Gives Angels Bullpen a Gift

Angels News

Nick Maronde opened the 2012 season at advanced Single-A Inland Empire and appeared in just seven Double-A games before getting the call to bolster the Los Angeles Angels bullpen this week. The 23-year-old left-hander has responded by striking out all four batters he has faced, including a clutch performance that secured a much-needed Angels victory over the Oakland A’s on Wednesday.

It was Maronde’s 23rd birthday on Wednesday, and he gave himself and the Angels a present. The bullpen lacked tough lefty Scott Downs, who had pitched in back-to-back contests, so manager Mike Scioscia called upon the rookie with runners on the corners and one out with the Angels holding a two-run lead.

Maronde struck out Coco Crisp and Seth Smith to end that threat, and then he opened the eighth by fanning Josh Reddick.

Like Shelby Miller, the highly regarded Cardinals right-hander who was recently summoned to the heat of the pennant race from Triple-A Memphis, Maronde projects as a starter for the long term, but for September he gives the Angels a live arm for critical late-inning situations.

A third round pick out of the University of Florida in 2011, Maronde has a plus fast ball and slider, and he also features a change-up that is still under development, which is why he profiles better as a reliever this month in his first taste of the majors than a starter.

Because of his limited experience above Single-A, Maronde is one of the more surprising call-ups by a team in the midst of a pennant race. With staff ace Jered Weaver battling biceps tendinitis, Maronde does represent a spot start option for manager Mike Scioscia.

Overall in three minor league stops this season – including two in Single-A and 32.1 innings at Double-A Arkansas – Maronde is 6-4 with a 2.26 ERA in 20 games (18 starts) and 99.2 innings. He posted a 1.01 WHIP and struck out 90 while walking just 19.

 


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