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Angels Cole Fontenelle turning heads within the organization


ryanmfalla

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Ryan Falla, AngelsWin.com Staff Reporter

It appears fortunes are changing in Anaheim.

Where once was an organization laid bare of any internal development is now an Angels future full of the most young promise they've had since their glory days of fifteen years past. Whereas that legacy run was fueled by homegrown talents so too does this window look to be forced open by the quality of youth across the organization. This years Spring Training has offered a glimpse into the star studded future of 2025 and beyond with certain showcased talents making their names present such as Nelson Rada and Caden Dana among others. Among those hopeful cornerstones is the Angels switch hitting third base prospect Cole Fontenelle, coming into the organization as a 7th round pick in the 2023 draft. Cole Fontenelle is a true student of the game who’s diligence in studying the necessities in detail has fueled his meteoric rise to the Angels from TCUs resident super-clutch batsman. Not only is his mental in a league of its own, his physical tools across the board rate strongly for an organization readily searching for their third baseman of the future. Fontenelle brings with him a raw power often tapped into during the most critical of situations, an understanding of the strike zone that allows his power stroke the successes it saw in college, and most importantly a desire to absorb every analytic angle as if his future hung in the balance. As preparation and execution meet success so too does Cole Fontenelle breathe life onto the field with his attention to the game. 

“I honestly didn't have a high expectation to be in big league camp at all this Spring. I got the call from Perry saying ‘You're gonna be in big league camp’, he just told me you deserve this and to go there, do what you do and soak up as much information as possible. I've been learning as much as I can from everybody; really studying how people work, seeing their routines, seeing a lot of the pre-work and post-game work they do. Absorbing everything I can.”

Cole Fontenelle was an absolute menace at the plate in his short time with TCU as he logged a mind-boggling .352/.473/.640 slash with 14 HRs and 21 doubles in 65 games played, which would average out to about one extra-base hit every 2 games. The switch hitting Fontenelle worked the zone with exceptional proficiency from both sides as he balanced 45 BBs to 50 Ks in his lone year with the school pre-draft. His ability to pressure pitchers on the mound with his unceasing discipline was one of the bigger factors in his offensive success with TCU and will likely be the determinator of his success with the Angels. Fontanelle was no slouch on the base paths either as he wrangled 20 stolen bases with 66 runs scored, a mark that seemingly falls in line with the Angels re-geared organizational philosophies towards taking the extra bag and forcing runs in their favor. 

“It's about treating every at-bat the same, whether it was a Tuesday night with nobody in the crowd or it was a College World series or a super-regional.  For me it was about having the same approach, doing the same routine on deck, walking to the plate the same way. Being super consistent and also being diligent in my preparation. It made it a lot easier to handle those big situations, and it made it a lot easier when I transitioned into pro ball. This is baseball, I've prepared the best I could so now all I can do is go compete.”

Fontenelle quickly capitalized on his newfound professional opportunities post-draft by swinging for a .753 OPS in his first 38 games as a pro in Low A. His best qualities almost immediately shined through with the Angels organization as he displayed the clutch power genes brewing within on a daily basis. He opened his Low A debut with six hits and three RBIs in his first week of play before exploding mid-August with a sixteen game stretch that saw Fontenelle corral 16 hits and 15 RBIs with 8 XBHs; those being 4 doubles, 1 triple, and 3 HR’s. Fontenelle’s agile decision making at the plate and quick reads mixed with a swing that traces an elite path and bullies balls down in the zone were the biggest factors in his growing power successes last year. Furthered development should see Fontenelle continue acclimating to working the top half of the zone and beating secondaries in order to generate as many preferable pitches down his pipeline as possible.

“I want to get deeper into some counts, sometimes my aggressiveness works against me. I want to get to my pitches, I know when I get my pitches I'll be able to do damage. I’m not setting any numerical goals per se; this amount of home runs, this amount of doubles, I’m just making sure I'm super consistent with my approach and preparation, doing everything I can to know about who we're facing, the arms that might come in the game, so I'm as prepared as possible to go compete. I'm doing really good this spring and I'm excited to get into the season. Knowing I can compete allows me to feel confident going into the game.”

 

“I do damage in that low part of the zone, especially with fastballs. If a pitcher can make a mistake down there that's what I need to jump all over. It's good for me to know that high velocity and top tier sweepers/sliders are pitches that I can handle.  I'm doing really good this spring and I'm excited to get into the season. Knowing I can compete allows me to feel confident going into the game.”

There are many tools in baseball that will power an individual to the tallest heights of success, yet the more one studies the game the more it becomes apparent just how far being a consummate student can take you. His stark ability to absorb all the information spinning around him and amalgamate it into his own form has been on display long before his professional baseball days, or even his high school days. As a young baseball fan growing up in Seattle, Fontenelle enjoyed mimicking the stances of the Mariner standouts he looked up to at the time; those being Adrian Beltre, Raul Ibanez and Ichiro Suzuki, as he subconsciously developed his future professional form by imitating the batting stances of the Seattle trio. Success in baseball always comes down to the eyes, the way one sees the game, and likewise themselves in it, has the biggest impact on ones ability to succeed as a major leaguer. Cole Fontenelle is a talent full of soul, spark, and ingenuity both on and off the field; and with a bat and glove that plays as well as his mental it will only be a matter of time until he calculates his way to the highest reaches of success as a future Major League All-Star. 

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Well written, and I like that there is a highly-regarded third baseman in t he system. Now, we know he can hit and run the bases. How are his defensive tools: arm strength, accuracy, range, glove, and reflexes?

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