Amundaray Working On Recognition

Outfielder Jonathan Amundaray, signed out of Venezuela for a reported $1.5 million this past summer, brings a ton of tools with him as he enters the professional ranks. The 16-year old is already a physical specimen who should only get stronger in the coming years and that gives him a sky-high ceiling. However, he says his ability to recognize pitches better is atop his things to do list.

He was one of several big-ticket International free agents signed by the Yankees on July 2nd this year.

"It was one of my best days ever for me and my family," he said through the help of a translator, "signing with one of the best teams ever and obviously the hardest team in baseball to sign with. It was amazing that it happened."

With Amundaray he comes as advertised. Already standing 6-foot-2 and weighing a rock-solid 215 pounds in a tapered body, the physicality is quite obvious. He already has average big league power potential and he won't turn 17 years old until next May, thus giving him long-term power potential. The power isn't limited to just his bat either.

"My best tool is my defensive game, my arm specifically," he said. "I think my arm puts me at the top of every other guy. Offensively, my batting, I feel like I've gotten better recognizing pitches. The more pitches I see the better I get at recognizing the breaking pitches and I think I'm better now [than when I signed]."

Built like a prototypical corner outfielder and possessing plus bat speed, the physical tools are already present for him to potentially be an impact two-way player for the Yankees someday. The only thing that needs to tie all of his tools together is his ability to be more consistent with the bat.

"Obviously at Instructional League I've gotten to see guys from single-A and Double-A, even Triple-A, and it's really helped me," he said. "I have to be more consistent overall offensively and I have to mature more both mentally and physically."

He's been working hard behind the scenes on harnessing his pitch recognition since he signed, learning how to pick up the spin of the baseball and, just like most young players, how to avoid chasing pitches out of the zone. He feels his brief exposure to the professional game has quickly sped up the process and while he feels there has been significant progress made he knows there is more work to be done.

"I'm very happy with the job I've done so far but it doesn't matter what I've done, I can't get complacent. I have to work everyday and I want more and more everyday. I have to get better."

The rawness in his pitch recognition suggests that there may be some short-term struggles as he begins his professional career but for Amundaray, excited about the amount of progress he had made in a short period of time, he simply can't wait to get it officially started in his debut season next year.

"I'm excited for next season. I'm going to make sure I get ready and I hope I have a good season next year," he concluded.

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