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Nolan David Fontana (born June 6, 1991) is an American professional baseball infielder who is a free agent. He has played for the Los Angeles Angels of Major League Baseball (MLB). Before he began his professional career, he attended the University of Florida, and played college baseball for the Florida Gators.

Nolan Fontana
Nolan Fontana at bat during 2015 spring training.jpg
Fontana at Houston Astros spring training in 2015
Free agent
Born: (1991-06-06) June 6, 1991 (age 28)
Richardson, Texas
Bats: Left Throws: Right
MLB debut
May 22, 2017, for the Los Angeles Angels
MLB statistics
(through 2018 season)
Batting average.065
Home runs2
Runs batted in2


Early lifeEdit

Fontana was born in Richardson, Texas,[1] but was raised in Winter Garden, Florida.[2] He played Little League Baseball in Pine Hills, Florida. As a nine-year-old playing in the 12-and-under division, he did not strikeout once until the final game of the year.[3]

Fontana attended West Orange High School in Winter Garden. In 2008, he played in a regional final despite having mononucleosis.[3]

Amateur careerEdit

Fontana enrolled at the University of Florida, where he played for the Florida Gators baseball team in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I. As a freshman, he had a .287 batting average, and committed only four errors. He won a Gold Glove Award for his defensive play, and was named a Freshman All-American.[2] Fontana played for the United States national collegiate baseball team in the summer of 2010. Fontana and Gators teammate Brian Johnson were the only two freshmen on the team.[3][4]

In 2011, Fontana was a semifinalist for the Brooks Wallace Award as the nation's top shortstop.[2][5] He had a .289 batting average for the Gators, who were the runners-up in the 2011 College World Series (CWS). He was named to the SEC Tournament's All-Tournament team, and to the SEC All-Defensive team for his second consecutive year. Fontana was named a preseason All-American before the 2012 season.[2] In his junior year at Florida, he compiled a .284 batting average, a .406 on-base percentage, nine home runs, ten doubles, and 30 runs batted in, as the Gators reached the 2012 CWS.[1]

Professional careerEdit

Houston AstrosEdit

Fontana playing for the Fresno Grizzlies in 2015

The Houston Astros selected Fontana in the second round, with the 61st overall selection, of the 2012 MLB Draft. He received a $875,000 signing bonus from the Astros, and reported to the Lexington Legends of the Class A South Atlantic League.[1][6] He reached base six times in his professional debut.[7] Though he only batted .225, he drew 65 walks in 49 games played, leading to a .464 on-base percentage.[8]

In 2013, the Astros invited him to spring training.[8] He spent the 2013 season with the Lancaster JetHawks of the Class A-Advanced California League, where he had more walks (102) than strikeouts (100) in 104 games played. After the season, he played in the Arizona Fall League.[9] He opened the 2014 season with the Corpus Christi Hooks of the Class AA Texas League.[10]

The Astros again invited Fontana to spring training in 2015.[11] He played for the Fresno Grizzlies of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League (PCL) in 2015.[12] After the 2015 season, the Astros added Fontana to their 40-man roster, protecting him from being eligible in the Rule 5 draft.[13] In 2016, Fontana was hitting .195 through 73 games for Fresno. On July 14, he was demoted to Corpus Christi.[14]

Los Angeles AngelsEdit

On November 22, 2016, Fontana was claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.[15] He began the 2017 season with the Salt Lake Bees of the PCL, and was promoted to the major leagues on May 22.[16] He recorded his first major league hit, a home run, on May 26.[17] He was released by the organization on September 4, 2018.

Texas RangersEdit

On December 19, 2018, Fontana signed a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers.[18] He was assigned to the Triple-A Nashville Sounds to open the 2019 season.[19] He was released on June 25, 2019.

Personal lifeEdit

Fontana is the grandson of Lew Burdette, who was a Major League Baseball pitcher and All-Star.[3] Burdette lived with the Fontana family for the final years of his life.[1]

Fontana's parents, who are fans of the Texas Rangers, named their son after Nolan Ryan.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e McTaggert, Brian (June 26, 2012). "Astros seal deal with second-round pick Fontana | News". Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d Harvin, Jim. "Fontana assumes leadership role for UF baseball". Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d Fowler, Jeremy (May 20, 2010). "Gators star Nolan Fontana paying tribute to his late grandfather, former pitcher Lew Burdette". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  4. ^ "2010 Team USA Baseball Roster". Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  5. ^ George, Rachel (June 12, 2011). "Nolan Fontana: Florida SS Nolan Fontana named semifinalist for Brooks Wallace Award". Orlando Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  6. ^ "Ultimate Astros » It's Class A all the way for new Astro Fontana (w/video)". June 26, 2012. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  7. ^ Marshall, Ashley (July 6, 2012). "Fontana reaches six times in debut | News | The Official Site of Minor League Baseball". Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  8. ^ a b "Astros' top Minors players join big league camp | News". February 26, 2013. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  9. ^ Seiner, Jake (October 30, 2013). "Romero plates four in Javelinas' win | News | The Official Site of Minor League Baseball". Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  10. ^ "Hooks 2014 preview: Player bios". CCCT. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  11. ^ "Carlos Correa, Mark Appel invited to Astros major league camp". Ultimate Astros. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  12. ^ Anteola, Bryant-Jon. "Fresno Grizzlies: Opening Night, new affiliation bring hope of PCL title-contending season". The Fresno Bee. Retrieved July 15, 2016.
  13. ^ McTaggart, Brian. "Astros protect 7 prospects from Rule 5 Draft". - Astros News. Retrieved July 15, 2016.
  14. ^ Hayward, Len. "Rangers prospect Brinson finding groove in July after battling injury". Corpus Christi Caller Retrieved July 15, 2016.
  15. ^ Adams, Steve (November 22, 2016). "Angels Claim Nolan Fontana, Designate Juan Graterol". Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  16. ^ Ryzewski, Steven (May 22, 2017). "West Orange alum Nolan Fontana called up by Los Angeles Angels - Observer Preps | West Orange Times & Observer | West Orange Times & Windermere Observer". Retrieved June 28, 2017.
  17. ^
  18. ^ Eddy, Matt (January 12, 2019). "Minor League Transactions: Dec 19 - Jan 10". Baseball America. Retrieved January 12, 2019.
  19. ^ "Sounds Announce Tentative Opening Day Roster". March 27, 2019. Retrieved April 4, 2019.

External linksEdit