Almonte Getting It In Gear

Abraham Almonte, who is in his second season with high-A Tampa, has had an up and down type 2011 season. With early season struggles evident for the 22-year old, he has highly improved his game in the second half of the season and is heading into the right direction as his numbers and leadership continues to grow.

Abraham Almonte, who only played in 15 games with Tampa in 2010, entered his 2011 campaign in Tampa where he would begin playing his first long-season in high-A. As he brought his talents to camp, it is evident that Almonte carries some valuable weapons.

Almonte has great legs and is not afraid to use them. He is able to track down many fly balls and can also be productive on the base paths. He has played centerfield in 2011, a position that is not new to him, but in past years in the Yankees organization he has also played right and left field.

As the 2011 season kicked off, Almonte's numbers were far below par. His average was in the low .200s and as a leadoff man he was simply not getting on base. With the first half of the season ending in late June, it was a breath of fresh air for Almonte.

"It's baseball," Almonte said. "Baseball always has a price, every time you think you may have a good game you don't, and sometimes you feel bad and you end up performing well.

"You need to keep a good approach and be open to make adjustments, and I think I have done that in the second half."

As the second half of the season began, Almonte kicked up the gear and performed to the player who people believe he can be. He started getting his pitch again and putting quality swings on the ball like an aggressive batter.

Almonte notices his second half success and knows the adjustments he made to better his trade.

"In the beginning of the season it was hard for me to make adjustments but I am doing better now," he said. "I feel like I'm putting good swings on the ball and trying to get my pitch to hit."

Tampa Yankees hitting coach, Justin Turner, agrees with Almonte's reasoning and gives credit to how Almonte approaches each at-bat.

"He's really done a nice job since the all-star break," Turner said. "Twenty games in he was batting over the .300 mark for the second half and he's getting better pitches and being more comfortable at the plate. Good things have happened for him in the second half."

Although Almonte is batting .244 in 2011, he has compiled up 109 hits in the leadoff spot. He has struck out 84 times through Sunday's game, but Turner knows the early season struggles for Almonte affected that number.

"For a guy with his ability I think it is a high number, but it's not an alarming number," Turner said. "I think of lot of his strikeouts came in the beginning of the year, he hasn't struck out that much in the second half, he's been a lot better with pitch selection."

With a low average and on base percentage of only .320, Almonte says that it was hard for him to improve that number when he didn't get on base in the beginning of the season. Although he is performing well in the second half, Turner and the Yankees coaching staff never questioned taking him out of the leadoff spot.

"No, we look at him as a top of the order guy, he has great speed," Turner said. "The thing is really his average brings his on base down. He walks enough, has one of the highest walk rates on the team so if he can bump up that average a bit, his on base percentage will go up more."

Like Turner said, he has great speed and Almonte has also noticed in 2011 that his strongest point in his game is his legs. Almonte has been playing centerfield all season and sees himself playing anywhere in the outfield throughout his career.

Almonte has 22 stolen bases this season but that number has increased rapidly in the second half of the season due to his hot streaks.

With less than two months left of the Florida State League's regular season, Turner has seen Almonte as a spark plug for the team. He states that when Abe goes, the team goes, and that Abe can be an important leader on the team.

"He's an exciting player," Turner said. "He plays the game hard, plays it with passion. I would like to see him assert himself a little more as a leader but his outfield play is great, becoming more aggressive out there and taking control.

"Guy's notice what he does; he plays the game so hard and attracts positive energy. If he continues to play the game hard people will follow him."

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\r\n \r\n\r\nAbraham Almonte, who only played in 15 games with Tampa in 2010, entered his 2011 campaign in Tampa where he would begin playing his first long-season in high-A. As he brought his talents to camp, it is evident that Almonte carries some valuable weapons.
\r\n
\r\nAlmonte has great legs and is not afraid to use them. He is able to track down many fly balls and can also be productive on the base paths. He has played centerfield in 2011, a position that is not new to him, but in past years in the Yankees organization he has also played right and left field.
\r\n
\r\nAs the 2011 season kicked off, Almonte's numbers were far below par. His average was in the low .200s and as a leadoff man he was simply not getting on base. With the first half of the season ending in late June, it was a breath of fresh air for Almonte.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's baseball,\" Almonte said. \"Baseball always has a price, every time you think you may have a good game you don't, and sometimes you feel bad and you end up performing well.
\r\n
\r\n\"You need to keep a good approach and be open to make adjustments, and I think I have done that in the second half.\"
\r\n
\r\nAs the second half of the season began, Almonte kicked up the gear and performed to the player who people believe he can be. He started getting his pitch again and putting quality swings on the ball like an aggressive batter.
\r\n
\r\nAlmonte notices his second half success and knows the adjustments he made to better his trade.
\r\n
\r\n\"In the beginning of the season it was hard for me to make adjustments but I am doing better now,\" he said. \"I feel like I'm putting good swings on the ball and trying to get my pitch to hit.\"
\r\n
\r\nTampa Yankees hitting coach, Justin Turner, agrees with Almonte's reasoning and gives credit to how Almonte approaches each at-bat.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's really done a nice job since the all-star break,\" Turner said. \"Twenty games in he was batting over the .300 mark for the second half and he's getting better pitches and being more comfortable at the plate. Good things have happened for him in the second half.\"
\r\n
\r\nAlthough Almonte is batting .244 in 2011, he has compiled up 109 hits in the leadoff spot. He has struck out 84 times through Sunday's game, but Turner knows the early season struggles for Almonte affected that number.
\r\n
\r\n\"For a guy with his ability I think it is a high number, but it's not an alarming number,\" Turner said. \"I think of lot of his strikeouts came in the beginning of the year, he hasn't struck out that much in the second half, he's been a lot better with pitch selection.\"
\r\n
\r\nWith a low average and on base percentage of only .320, Almonte says that it was hard for him to improve that number when he didn't get on base in the beginning of the season. Although he is performing well in the second half, Turner and the Yankees coaching staff never questioned taking him out of the leadoff spot.
\r\n
\r\n\"No, we look at him as a top of the order guy, he has great speed,\" Turner said. \"The thing is really his average brings his on base down. He walks enough, has one of the highest walk rates on the team so if he can bump up that average a bit, his on base percentage will go up more.\"
\r\n
\r\nLike Turner said, he has great speed and Almonte has also noticed in 2011 that his strongest point in his game is his legs. Almonte has been playing centerfield all season and sees himself playing anywhere in the outfield throughout his career.
\r\n
\r\nAlmonte has 22 stolen bases this season but that number has increased rapidly in the second half of the season due to his hot streaks.
\r\n
\r\nWith less than two months left of the Florida State League's regular season, Turner has seen Almonte as a spark plug for the team. He states that when Abe goes, the team goes, and that Abe can be an important leader on the team.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's an exciting player,\" Turner said. \"He plays the game hard, plays it with passion. I would like to see him assert himself a little more as a leader but his outfield play is great, becoming more aggressive out there and taking control.
\r\n
\r\n\"Guy's notice what he does; he plays the game so hard and attracts positive energy. If he continues to play the game hard people will follow him.\"
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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