Scouting Yankees Prospect #43: Zoilo Almonte

One of the key International signings in 2005, Zoilo Almonte has quickly earned the reputation as owning one of the more projectable bats in the Yankees farm system. The switch-hitter has drawn comparisons to a more powerful Melky Cabrera, finishing second on the Gulf Coast League Yankees in doubles and RBI in his first season in the United States.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Zoilo Almonte
Position: Outfield
DOB: June 10, 1989
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 180
Bats: Both
Throws: Right

"I didn't reach the goals I wanted to reach this year," Almonte said through the help of Manny Barreda translating. "I didn't want to get where I wanted to get, but I still feel I had a good season and I improved on everything I wanted to improve on.

"I wanted to hit a lot more than I hit this year. I really wanted to hit .300 this year and I think I can do much better than I did this year."

Playing in his first season in the United States, the Dominican native got off to a fast start in the Gulf Coast League, hitting .333 with four doubles and a home run in his first ten games.

Enduring his first full season however after participating in Extended Spring Training, he tired down the stretch and mustered just a .253 average the rest of the way.

"Zoilo's a good hitter," said Yankees Director of Latin American Scouting Carlos Rios. "He's young though and probably got tired. He had never played a full season like that.

"He's a young kid, he's only 18 years old. He has gotten bigger and stronger and the hit-ability is there, it just takes time. Getting bigger is important for him because the power is going to develop more with him.

"I just think he needs to mature as a hitter and I think at-bats is how you do that. I think as he matures as a hitter he's going to have much better and bigger numbers.

Even after hitting just .219 with the Dominican Summer League Yankees in his professional debut season in 2006, team officials believed there was something special with his bat that couldn't be revealed with lower level minor league stats.

"I like the bat - I love it," said Victor Mata, the Yankees Latin American field coordinator. "I love to see Zoilo swinging because he has a beautiful swing.

"To me he can be a 25-home run guy in the major leagues someday and a .300 hitter. Again, that's my opinion. He's the best hitter I've seen here in the last two years."

Impressing the scouts and team officials who signed him as a 16-year old in the Dominican Republic, he immediately began to open some eyes States-side this past season, including his Gulf Coast League manager.

"Zoilo Almonte figured out this year that he wants to be a big leaguer," said Jody Reed. "He set his mind to improving, and not only that, he started playing the game differently.

"What I mean by that is he started playing the game, going out there and competing, and playing hard every single pitch. Every day he went out there and showed, 'you know what, I want to go up to the next level."

Physically resembling current Yankees outfielder Melky Cabrera, especially with his switch-hitting ability, team officials believe Almonte has a chance to hit for much more power by the team he reaches the big leagues.

"I'll tell you what, he's a loose-bodied guy," said Yankees hitting coordinator James Rowson. "He's got loose actions and when he makes impact, the ball comes off of his bat well. He's a guy where the ball jumps off of his bat, the ball gets off of his bat well. I'm excited about the things he can do.

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

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. Despite the .243 average so far in his young career, Almonte projects to be a much better hitter than he's shown thus far. He made marked improvements with his pitch recognition this past season, recognizing secondary pitches better and laying off pitches outside the strike zone. He has a good idea of the strike zone but still needs to improve working the count and getting better pitches to hit. Once he does that, he'll be the .300 hitter many are predicting. He is a much better hitter from the left side right now, which bears watching down the road. Almonte has excellent gap power to all fields right now with pretty good loft for a young player - a good sign of developing home run power - and he has the body type to add useful muscle mass and get stronger.

Base Running and Speed. Almonte has average to slightly below average speed and agility, making him a limited threat on the base paths. He also tends to lose focus in the base running game, making too many mental errors. He has decent enough speed to do some things but he'll need to get smarter to do that.

Defense. Almonte is a solid, average defender in the outfield. He profiles more as a left fielder because his range and arm are both average. He'll also need to improve his reads when the ball comes off the bat and his angles could be better, which is something that should improve with more experience. He did improve a bit this past season and that's an encouraging sign for his future development.

Projection. Almonte's lack of speed and defensive abilities make his projection all about the bat which, lucky for him, has the chance to be quite special. While empirical evidence might not support it right now, he projects to be a high-average hitter with above-average power potential down the road. He may not be an elite home run hitter at any point but he should be an excellent extra-base hitter and run producer, hitting anywhere from third to fifth in a batting order. Scouts compare him to more powerful version of Melky Cabrera offensively.

ETA. 2012. Almonte's ETA to the big leagues might just be determined with where he starts next season. Despite being one of the youngest potential outfield prospects vying for a spot in Charleston next season, he has one of the higher potential bats. If he can begin the year in the South Atlantic League next season, his ETA could be quicker.

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Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\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: 180
\r\nBats: Both
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\n
\r\n\"I didn't reach the goals I wanted to reach this year,\" Almonte said through the help of Manny Barreda translating. \"I didn't want to get where I wanted to get, but I still feel I had a good season and I improved on everything I wanted to improve on.
\r\n
\r\n\"I wanted to hit a lot more than I hit this year. I really wanted to hit .300 this year and I think I can do much better than I did this year.\"
\r\n
\r\nPlaying in his first season in the United States, the Dominican native got off to a fast start in the Gulf Coast League, hitting .333 with four doubles and a home run in his first ten games.
\r\n
\r\nEnduring his first full season however after participating in Extended Spring Training, he tired down the stretch and mustered just a .253 average the rest of the way.
\r\n
\r\n\"Zoilo's a good hitter,\" said Yankees Director of Latin American Scouting Carlos Rios. \"He's young though and probably got tired. He had never played a full season like that.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's a young kid, he's only 18 years old. He has gotten bigger and stronger and the hit-ability is there, it just takes time. Getting bigger is important for him because the power is going to develop more with him.
\r\n
\r\n\"I just think he needs to mature as a hitter and I think at-bats is how you do that. I think as he matures as a hitter he's going to have much better and bigger numbers.
\r\n
\r\nEven after hitting just .219 with the Dominican Summer League Yankees in his professional debut season in 2006, team officials believed there was something special with his bat that couldn't be revealed with lower level minor league stats.
\r\n
\r\n\"I like the bat - I love it,\" said Victor Mata, the Yankees Latin American field coordinator. \"I love to see Zoilo swinging because he has a beautiful swing.
\r\n
\r\n\"To me he can be a 25-home run guy in the major leagues someday and a .300 hitter. Again, that's my opinion. He's the best hitter I've seen here in the last two years.\"
\r\n
\r\nImpressing the scouts and team officials who signed him as a 16-year old in the Dominican Republic, he immediately began to open some eyes States-side this past season, including his Gulf Coast League manager.
\r\n
\r\n\"Zoilo Almonte figured out this year that he wants to be a big leaguer,\" said Jody Reed. \"He set his mind to improving, and not only that, he started playing the game differently.
\r\n
\r\n\"What I mean by that is he started playing the game, going out there and competing, and playing hard every single pitch. Every day he went out there and showed, 'you know what, I want to go up to the next level.\"
\r\n
\r\nPhysically resembling current Yankees outfielder Melky Cabrera, especially with his switch-hitting ability, team officials believe Almonte has a chance to hit for much more power by the team he reaches the big leagues.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'll tell you what, he's a loose-bodied guy,\" said Yankees hitting coordinator James Rowson. \"He's got loose actions and when he makes impact, the ball comes off of his bat well. He's a guy where the ball jumps off of his bat, the ball gets off of his bat well. I'm excited about the things he can do.
\r\n
\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
\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 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. Despite the .243 average so far in his young career, Almonte projects to be a much better hitter than he's shown thus far. He made marked improvements with his pitch recognition this past season, recognizing secondary pitches better and laying off pitches outside the strike zone. He has a good idea of the strike zone but still needs to improve working the count and getting better pitches to hit. Once he does that, he'll be the .300 hitter many are predicting. He is a much better hitter from the left side right now, which bears watching down the road. Almonte has excellent gap power to all fields right now with pretty good loft for a young player - a good sign of developing home run power - and he has the body type to add useful muscle mass and get stronger.
\r\n
\r\nBase Running and Speed. Almonte has average to slightly below average speed and agility, making him a limited threat on the base paths. He also tends to lose focus in the base running game, making too many mental errors. He has decent enough speed to do some things but he'll need to get smarter to do that.
\r\n
\r\nDefense. Almonte is a solid, average defender in the outfield. He profiles more as a left fielder because his range and arm are both average. He'll also need to improve his reads when the ball comes off the bat and his angles could be better, which is something that should improve with more experience. He did improve a bit this past season and that's an encouraging sign for his future development.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. Almonte's lack of speed and defensive abilities make his projection all about the bat which, lucky for him, has the chance to be quite special. While empirical evidence might not support it right now, he projects to be a high-average hitter with above-average power potential down the road. He may not be an elite home run hitter at any point but he should be an excellent extra-base hitter and run producer, hitting anywhere from third to fifth in a batting order. Scouts compare him to more powerful version of Melky Cabrera offensively.
\r\n
\r\nETA. 2012. Almonte's ETA to the big leagues might just be determined with where he starts next season. Despite being one of the youngest potential outfield prospects vying for a spot in Charleston next season, he has one of the higher potential bats. If he can begin the year in the South Atlantic League next season, his ETA could be quicker.
\r\n
\r\n

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

\r\n

Get both magazines by upgrading today!
\r\n

Are you a monthly or 3-month subscriber to PinstripesPlus.com? Why not get two months free AND get 4 issues of our PinstripesPlus Magazine, including our special Yankees Prospects Guide, PLUS the special 84-page Scout.com Prospects Guide covering all 30 farm systems, included by becoming an annual subscriber? Upgrade today to get the most out of your subscription.

\r\n

\r\n

Become an annual subscriber today!

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