Yency Almonte, Right-Handed Pitcher
HT : 6'3
WT : 185 lb.
DOB : June 4, 1994, Miami, FL
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
Acquired : Drafted in 17th round (537th overall) of 2012 June Draft
Stock : Neutral
There aren't many prospects in the Angels farm system that carry around so much swagger as Yency Almonte. Want to know how much swagger he has? The kid's nickname is "Showtime." Almonte has one of the highest ceilings of any prospect in the farm system. He's young, and needs some fine tuning, but he's nearing becoming elite.
Almonte has a strong upside due to his age, athleticism, potential growth, and understanding of pitching. He's just 20-years-old and competing well in Low-A. He's a natural athlete with an already large frame at six-foot-three and 185 pounds, which he may add some more strength to that frame. He also has a stronger understanding of pitching than most his age, which has helped him at the higher levels already.
Almonte has good command already at a young age, which comes from repetitive mechanics. He's clean and deceptive in his three-quarter delivery, and has a long, loose arm delivery, which allows him to maintain his velocity and not have concerns of tightness moving foward. This also allows him great extension and keeps him balanced through his whole motion.
Almonte comes equipped with a three pitch arsenal, consisting of a four-seam fastball, changeup, and slider combo. His fastball tends to be his best pitch on any given night, sitting primarily in the low 90's, tapping out at 93 MPH. With growth, Almonte could see the mid 90's with this pitch in coming years.
Almonte's changeup has developed well, but still needs some fine tuning before saying it's ready to be a useful pitch on any count. At the moment, it keeps batters off-balance.
Almonte's slider is his better off-speed pitch, breaking from an 11-5 angle, and sitting in the low 80's. It has a late break to it, which allows it to come in deceptively, and also be hard to read out of the hand, since Almonte throws it with fastball arm speed.
Almonte hasn't had trouble throwing strikes at any point in his career, but has struggled slightly with command, as he tends to leave pitches up in the zone. This should be fixed with experience on the mound.
Almonte only pitched in three games after being drafted in the 2012 season, but did decent. Despite a full look at his numbers, Almonte allowed five hits in three innings of relief work, two were doubles, which caused some runs to come in.
In his second year of pro ball, and first full season, Almonte's numbers were still nothing to gaw at. He held a 6.92 ERA, 1.631 WHIP and .304 against average. Almonte held bats to a .265/.306/.324 slash with runners in scoring position with two outs.
Almonte had a breakout season this last year, despite attaining multiple injuries. Putting aside a pair of rehab performances in AZL, Almonte spent his season in Low-A, where he held a 4.93 ERA, 1.285 WHIP, and .252 against average. He had six of his nine starts go with one or no earned runs, but had the other three go with four, six, and eight earned.
Middleton was strong in situational manners, holding bats to slashes of .190/.274/.349 with runners on, .200/.200/.450 with runners on and two outs, .205/.302/.364 with runners in scoring position, and .231/.231/.462 with RISP and two outs.
Almonte took some big steps in 2014, and should make some bigger strides in 2015. He began this past season in Burlington, where he should return to next season, so he can adapt to higher level talent, and maintain a quick rate to the bigs.
Almonte needs some small quirk changes, but has the Major Leagues in his sites. His current estimated ETA is late 2018 to early 2019. It has not been noted whether Almonte will be a starter or reliever, but at the moment, the rotation is his calling card. He has #4 starter potential, and could have a higher ceiling than that in the near future.
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Taylor Blake Ward is a Senior Publisher for InsideTheHalos.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.