Carlos Maldonado (maldoca03)

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Carlos Luis Maldonado

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Biographical information[edit]

Carlos Maldonado began his professional baseball career at age 17, hitting .220/~.264/.280 with the 1996 AZL Mariners after signing as an undrafted free agent. In 1997, Carlos batted .190/~.231/.228 in 97 games for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers; he at least managed to lead the Midwest League catchers in both putouts (857) and assists (105). In '98, Maldonado managed a .174/~.240/.174 line in only seven games for Wisconsin. He did hit .287/~.331/.453 in 42 games for the Everett Aqua Sox in low A ball and even briefly appeared in AAA for the Tacoma Rainiers eight years prior to his major league debut. In three games in Tacoma, he went 0 for 9 with a strikeout.

In 1999, Maldonado returned to Wisconsin once more and improved to .308/~.394/.351, showing good OBP skills, though he had no hit further than a double. After three years at A ball, Carlos moved up to AA in 2000 with the Round Rock Express after the Mariners traded him to the Houston Astros for Carlos Hernandez. That year, Maldonado registered a Texas League-best 882 putouts and hit .270/.328/.371.

Returning to Round Rock, he racked up a .286/.356/.386 season while splitting catching duties with Chris Tremie. Baseball America ranked him as the top defensive catcher in the TL that season. In 2002, Maldonado batted .252/.356/.415 for Round Rock (John Buck was the new starter) and .172/.200/.172 in 12 games with the New Orleans Zephyrs.

For 2003, the 24-year-old backstop signed with the Chicago White Sox and was assigned to the Birmingham Barons. He hit .262/.335/.370 that year and .265/.353/.441 the next with 30 doubles.

In his 10th minor league season, Maldonado moved to the Pittsburgh Pirates system and the Altoona Curve. He hit .252/.339/.378 there, replacing Ronny Paulino as the starter after Paulino moved up. In 2006, Carlos lost 30 pounds from the start of spring training, when he weighed 250 pounds. He batted .278/.278/.389 in five games for the '06 Curve, then moved up to the Indianapolis Indians when Paulino went to Pittsburgh. In Indianapolis, he batted .283/.354/.390 and was surprisingly picked as team MVP on a club that just missed the post-season. Teammates raved about his defense and he led International League catchers in fielding percentage (.996). Pittsburgh called him up in September to backup Paulino and singled in his major league debut in the 9th inning on September 9 against Gary Majewski. After that, he went just 1 for 18 with the 2006 Pirates, striking out 10 times and drawing one walk. Pittsburgh dropped him from their 40-man roster that winter, but brought him back as a non-roster invitee.

Early in spring training in 2007, he was sent to minor league camp, with Humberto Cota and Einar Diaz given the shot at backup catcher. Pirates management expressed dissatisfaction with Maldonado's weight entering training camp. He only hit .219/.325/.270 in 46 games as Indianapolis's backup catcher but was called up by Pittsburgh in mid-August when Ryan Doumit went on the DL, as Maldonado could serve as backup to Paulino. He hit .208 in 13 games in what turned out to be his longest major league stint. After spending 2008 in the minors, he was signed by the Boston Red Sox in 2009 and the Washington Nationals in 2010. With the Nats, he had two more brief cups of coffee in the majors, for 4 games each in 2010 and 2012. Overall, he .159 in 29 major league games, with 3 homers and 8 RBIs.

Maldonado became a coach with the Frisco RoughRiders in 2016-2017 and Down East Wood Ducks until June and Spokane Indians in 2018. He then became a manager with the DSL Rangers 2 in 2019 and DSL Rangers 1 in 2021.

Principal Sources: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 1997-2006 Baseball Almanacs

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