Angel Miguel Villalona
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 240 lb.
Angel Villalona is a San Francisco Giants prospect whose career has been imperiled by a murder charge in the fall of 2009, soon after his 19th birthday. That charge was dropped during the summer of 2011.
Villalona was signed by scouts Pablo Peguero and Rick Ragazzo for the Giants 3 days after his 16th birthday, for $2.1 million, a team record at the time for an amateur signing from Latin America. Angel made his pro debut in 2007 with the AZL Giants (.285/.344/.450, 40 R in 52 G) and Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (2 for 12). He led Arizona League third basemen in assists (89) but also in errors (18). Baseball America rated the youngster the #1 prospect in the AZL, right ahead of Engel Beltre and Nick Noonan. Villalona did not make the league All-Star team; the third baseman chosen was Edgar Trejo.
In 2008, Angel hit .263/.312/.435 with 29 doubles and 17 homers for the Augusta GreenJackets. He struck out 118 times while drawing only 18 walks, one negative. He moved to first base, where he made 15 errors. Baseball America ranked him as the #6 prospect in the South Atlantic League, between Matt Dominguez and Jesus Montero; he was 5 spots behind teammate Madison Bumgarner. Villalona played in the 2008 Futures Game, backing up Pablo Sandoval at first base for the World team. He grounded out to Ryan Mattheus in the 7th and struck out versus Casey Weathers in the 8th.
He was originally picked for the 2009 Futures Game but sat out due to injury and was replaced by Bárbaro Cañizares, who was almost 16 years older. For the season, Villalona hit .267/.306/.397 in 74 games for the San Jose Giants.
On September 21, 2009, Villalona was charged with murder for the fatal shooting of a man at a bar in his hometown of La Romana. Angel had turned himself in to the police and pleaded innocent the following day. In early November, Villalona and the family of the deceased man reached an agreement whereby the family would receive approximately $138,000 (5 million pesos) and the family would not seek additional damages. At that point, Villalona was allowed to pay bail (500,000 pesos) and was freed until his criminal trial. At the time of Villalona's posting of bail, the US rescinded his travel visa, thus helping to ensure Villalona would stand trial in the Dominican Republic.
Following the payment, the victim's family asked that charges be dropped. Authorities, however, initially refused, keeping the charge active and moving forward with proceedings. Then in the summer of 2011 charges were officially dropped for lack of evidence. After being cleared, Villalona then filed suit against the Giants in the Dominican Republic for $10,800 in wages owed and $5,000,000 in punitive damages for breach of contract.
In 2012 Villalona, now cleared, but still unable to renew his US visa, played for the DSL Giants hitting .303 with 7 HR in just under 200 plate appearances. In 2013, now 22, he was able to return to the US and began the season back with the San Jose Giants. He hit .229 during the first half, but with 14 HR in 309 plate appearances. Villalona played in the California-Carolina League All-Star Game and then reported to the AA Richmond Flying Squirrels.