Since he was drafted by the Orioles in round seven out of Ohio State in 2007, outfielder Matt Angle has made steady progress through the minor leagues and, in November, he joined Joe Mahoney and Zach Britton in being added to the 40-man roster for the first time.
“It was a great day,” the 25-year-old Angle said. “It’s an honor and for them to think enough of me to be a part of that it’s just an honor and was a great day overall.
“It’s just another step in the ultimate goal of winning a World Series in the big leagues. You hope to get a shot at some point.”
The left-handed batting leadoff hitter and center fielder has a career average of .288 and on-base percentage of .379 and has played for all the O’s affiliates from Aberdeen on up.
His 2010 season began on a down note when he got hurt late in spring training and underwent surgery for a broken hamate bone in his right hand.
“It was a whirlwind of a year, starting with the injury on the last day of spring. We stuck with a pretty aggressive rehab. They took the bone out.
“Overall, I was pleased with the year. I would like to be a little more consistent, I felt like I was a little up and down. I wasn’t very pleased with the way I finished. I take pride in finishing strong and I didn’t do that, so that was a little disappointing.”
After the surgery, Angle played his first game for Double-A Bowie on May 13 and, after hitting .383 in 14 games, he quickly moved to Triple-A Norfolk on May 29 where he hit .260-1-24 with 24 steals and 55 runs in 87 games.
A very good defender, Angle is also known as a player that can do the little things well, like advancing runners and he plays a fundamentally sound game.
“I try to take pride in that,” he said. “In college, at Ohio State, they made sure we took pride in the small things. Make sure you take care of the fundamentals.
“I’m not going to wow anyone with any power or anything like that. In order to be successful, I have to do the little things well. I think every player should know what they are good at. You are always trying to find ways to improve your game, but you have to know the foundation of your game and where you are,” Angle said.
For Angle, that does not include homers, but he would like it to include more doubles and triples after producing just nine extra-base hits with the Tides.
“I think I can develop more there. Some of that comes with experience, getting used to different pitching at different levels and maybe picking your spots on when to try and drive a ball. There are some things I can refine there to help me in terms of extra-base hits.”
Angle, who has a career OPS of .731, hit .320 in Triple-A vs. lefty pitching and .235 vs. right-handers while hitting a robust .338 with runners in scoring position.
He said the chance to move to Triple-A gave him an opportunity to talk with players that have been in the big leagues.
“You face guys that have been in the big leagues and we had guys on our team that had been up and down. You talk to guys to learn about making adjustments and different approaches and I found that beneficial.”
Angle has spent this winter at his home in Columbus, Ohio and works out at Ohio State with some of his former college teammates like pitcher Cory Luebke, who was called up by the Padres in September.
While he may be overlooked by some fans and reporters at times, Angle now finds himself closer to the big leagues than ever. At the same time, it’s not like there are openings right now in the O’s outfield.
“I just try to be ready. If I can get an opportunity, I just want to be ready when my name is called. I can’t control anything else. I just have to put myself in a position where I am ready and that I play hard every day.”
More notes on Matt:
*He has 142 career steals in 175 attempts for an 81 percent success rate.
*He has hit seven homers 424 career games.
*Angle was a Carolina League post-season All-Star in 2009 when he stole a career-high 40 bases for Frederick.
*He represented Aberdeen at the 2007 New York-Penn League All-Star game.
*He has 228 career walks and 262 strikeouts.
*He was signed by O’s scout Rich Morales.