Scouting Yankees Prospect #41: Zoilo Almonte

The New York Yankees signed outfielder Zoilo Almonte out of the Dominican Republic as one of their top International free agents back in 2005. Always considered a high-ceiling prospect, he has shown flashes of being a top-shelf talent but it is the inconsistencies that have held him back overall.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Zoilo Almonte
Position: Outfield
DOB: June 10, 1989
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 190
Bats: Both
Throws: Right

He hit a combined .276 with a career-high 26 doubles, 15 home runs, 77 RBI, and 18 stolen bases between high-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton in 2011, and what was really impressive was that twelve of those home runs came in the pitching-friendly Florida State League.

"There's not a park made in baseball that can keep him in when he's hot," Tampa hitting coach Justin Turner told PinstripesPlus.com during the season. "It's going to go out anywhere.

"He puts himself in a bad spot sometimes [too]. He has to fly open to see pitches better. As long as he's keeping himself in good position, his recognition is good."

It's that kind of hot-and-cold offensive production that has plagued the young switch-hitter throughout his career, as are the outstanding tools that do show up on occasion.

"I like the fact that he can hit from both sides of the plate and that he has the power from both sides of the plate," Trenton manager Tony Franklin said. "I like the fact that he is a pretty good outfielder who can play both full positions out there.

"And I like the fact that this guy has a good feel for the game. These are the things that I think are looked for in players and he is certainly demonstrating that."

He hit .289 in his first 17 games for Double-Trenton, including clubbing a pair of home runs and drawing nine walks over that stretch, but then hit just .229 over his last 29 games with just one home run. Still, while the ups and downs can be maddening, the raw talent is hard to overlook.

"I think this kid is a pretty good player," Franklin opined. "I like what he does. And again, don't let the numbers sway you one way or another. I think, being in the position that I am, I get the chance to make a better assessment of what kind of player he is going to be.

"The problem with this venue and profession is that [people] look at the numbers and they say that he can't be that good because he is not hitting .300 or .400. Well, we don't think that way."

As has been his developmental track thus far, Almonte has shown a propensity to initially struggle at a new level before making the long-term adjustments the following season and have much better success.

"This is his first chance to play at Double- A level," said Franklin. "It's a little bit better brand of baseball than he's ever played and I think he has acquitted himself very well. He will probably be back next year and I think we'll see a pretty good, decent player."

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2011 Trenton .251 175 11 3 23 23 4 14 45 .309 .377
2011 Tampa .293 259 15 12 54 38 14 31 60 .368 .514
2010 Tampa .261 238 10 3 26 26 8 23 65 .322 .366
2010 Charleston .278 227 13 10 35 33 7 21 65 .341 .485
2009 Staten Island .274 259 20 7 39 43 15 31 58 .355 .440
2008 Gulf Coast .239 180 7 5 20 24 3 13 35 .291 .372
2007 Gulf Coast .268 190 11 3 24 25 2 9 35 .307 .395
2006 DSL Yankees .219 192 6 6 36 28 4 28 52 .320 .375


Batting and Power. When he's completely locked in and focused, Almonte is a great clutch hitter who has a tendency to drive in the big runs and he has above average power potential to all fields, especially on the pull-side while batting left-handed. During those times he employs plus plate discipline too. However, the natural right-handed batter can have long stretches where he is guessing at the plate and have no real plan of attack offensively, and ironically those seem to be the times when the bases are empty or earlier in games. If there is one constant offensively it is his ability to swing nice and easy, and still generate some impressive power.

Base Running and Speed. Almonte has really cut down on the base running mistakes over the past two seasons and has become a somewhat reliable base stealer overall. He stole a career-high 18 bases and he has the potential to steal more should he get on base more consistently.

Defense. Almonte's bouts of inconsistencies are not exclusive to the batter's box. A good natural defensive outfielder, he has the ability to make the impossible plays look routine and the routine plays look impossible, it just depends on his focus at the time. He has a strong arm, decent enough range to man centerfield in emergency spots if need be, and he gets pretty good jumps on balls hit in his direction. He can man all three outfield positions but he projects best as an above average left fielder.

Projection. With the defensive versatility to play all three outfield spots, the ability to switch-hit and show power too, Almonte has the requisite game in place to project safely as a big league reserve outfielder. While that seems to be his most likely big league role someday, that is clearly not his ceiling which is that of an everyday big league starting outfielder with All Star potential. Should he ever show that kind of non-stop motor and internal drive, and become consistent in all phases of the game, the sky is the limit for him. He is that talented. Until that time, however, he is best served as a future bench player.

ETA. 2013. Almonte will try to develop that much needed consistency with a return trip to Double-A Trenton in 2012 and a call-up to Triple-A later in the season is not out of the question.

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\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: Zoilo Almonte
\r\nPosition: Outfield
\r\nDOB: June 10, 1989
\r\nHeight: 6'0\"
\r\nWeight: 190
\r\nBats: Both
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\n
\r\nHe hit a combined .276 with a career-high 26 doubles, 15 home runs, 77 RBI, and 18 stolen bases between high-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton in 2011, and what was really impressive was that twelve of those home runs came in the pitching-friendly Florida State League.
\r\n
\r\n\"There's not a park made in baseball that can keep him in when he's hot,\" Tampa hitting coach Justin Turner told PinstripesPlus.com during the season. \"It's going to go out anywhere.
\r\n
\r\n\"He puts himself in a bad spot sometimes [too]. He has to fly open to see pitches better. As long as he's keeping himself in good position, his recognition is good.\"
\r\n
\r\nIt's that kind of hot-and-cold offensive production that has plagued the young switch-hitter throughout his career, as are the outstanding tools that do show up on occasion.
\r\n
\r\n\"I like the fact that he can hit from both sides of the plate and that he has the power from both sides of the plate,\" Trenton manager Tony Franklin said. \"I like the fact that he is a pretty good outfielder who can play both full positions out there.
\r\n
\r\n\"And I like the fact that this guy has a good feel for the game. These are the things that I think are looked for in players and he is certainly demonstrating that.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe hit .289 in his first 17 games for Double-Trenton, including clubbing a pair of home runs and drawing nine walks over that stretch, but then hit just .229 over his last 29 games with just one home run. Still, while the ups and downs can be maddening, the raw talent is hard to overlook.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think this kid is a pretty good player,\" Franklin opined. \"I like what he does. And again, don't let the numbers sway you one way or another. I think, being in the position that I am, I get the chance to make a better assessment of what kind of player he is going to be.
\r\n
\r\n\"The problem with this venue and profession is that [people] look at the numbers and they say that he can't be that good because he is not hitting .300 or .400. Well, we don't think that way.\"
\r\n
\r\nAs has been his developmental track thus far, Almonte has shown a propensity to initially struggle at a new level before making the long-term adjustments the following season and have much better success.
\r\n
\r\n\"This is his first chance to play at Double- A level,\" said Franklin. \"It's a little bit better brand of baseball than he's ever played and I think he has acquitted himself very well. He will probably be back next year and I think we'll see a pretty good, decent player.\"
\r\n
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\r\n

Year

\r\n

Team

\r\n

AVG

\r\n

AB

\r\n

2B

\r\n

HR

\r\n

RBI

\r\n

R

\r\n

SB

\r\n

BB

\r\n

SO

\r\n

OBP

\r\n

SLG

\r\n 2011\r\n Trenton\r\n .251\r\n 175\r\n 11\r\n 3\r\n 23\r\n 23\r\n 4\r\n 14\r\n 45\r\n .309\r\n .377
\r\n 2011\r\n Tampa\r\n .293\r\n 259\r\n 15\r\n 12\r\n 54\r\n 38\r\n 14\r\n 31\r\n 60\r\n .368\r\n .514
\r\n 2010\r\n Tampa\r\n .261\r\n 238\r\n 10\r\n 3\r\n 26\r\n 26\r\n 8\r\n 23\r\n 65\r\n .322\r\n .366
\r\n 2010\r\n Charleston\r\n .278\r\n 227\r\n 13\r\n 10\r\n 35\r\n 33\r\n 7\r\n 21\r\n 65\r\n .341\r\n .485
\r\n 2009\r\n Staten Island\r\n .274\r\n 259\r\n 20\r\n 7\r\n 39\r\n 43\r\n 15\r\n 31\r\n 58\r\n .355\r\n .440
\r\n 2008\r\n Gulf Coast\r\n .239\r\n 180\r\n 7\r\n 5\r\n 20\r\n 24\r\n 3\r\n 13\r\n 35\r\n .291\r\n .372
\r\n 2007\r\n Gulf Coast\r\n .268\r\n 190\r\n 11\r\n 3\r\n 24\r\n 25\r\n 2\r\n 9\r\n 35\r\n .307\r\n .395
\r\n 2006\r\n DSL Yankees\r\n .219\r\n 192\r\n 6\r\n 6\r\n 36\r\n 28\r\n 4\r\n 28\r\n 52\r\n .320\r\n .375

\r\n
\r\nBatting and Power. When he's completely locked in and focused, Almonte is a great clutch hitter who has a tendency to drive in the big runs and he has above average power potential to all fields, especially on the pull-side while batting left-handed. During those times he employs plus plate discipline too. However, the natural right-handed batter can have long stretches where he is guessing at the plate and have no real plan of attack offensively, and ironically those seem to be the times when the bases are empty or earlier in games. If there is one constant offensively it is his ability to swing nice and easy, and still generate some impressive power.
\r\n
\r\nBase Running and Speed. Almonte has really cut down on the base running mistakes over the past two seasons and has become a somewhat reliable base stealer overall. He stole a career-high 18 bases and he has the potential to steal more should he get on base more consistently.
\r\n
\r\nDefense. Almonte's bouts of inconsistencies are not exclusive to the batter's box. A good natural defensive outfielder, he has the ability to make the impossible plays look routine and the routine plays look impossible, it just depends on his focus at the time. He has a strong arm, decent enough range to man centerfield in emergency spots if need be, and he gets pretty good jumps on balls hit in his direction. He can man all three outfield positions but he projects best as an above average left fielder.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. With the defensive versatility to play all three outfield spots, the ability to switch-hit and show power too, Almonte has the requisite game in place to project safely as a big league reserve outfielder. While that seems to be his most likely big league role someday, that is clearly not his ceiling which is that of an everyday big league starting outfielder with All Star potential. Should he ever show that kind of non-stop motor and internal drive, and become consistent in all phases of the game, the sky is the limit for him. He is that talented. Until that time, however, he is best served as a future bench player.
\r\n
\r\nETA. 2013. Almonte will try to develop that much needed consistency with a return trip to Double-A Trenton in 2012 and a call-up to Triple-A later in the season is not out of the question.
\r\n
\r\n

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

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