New York Yankees fans first heard the name Zoilo Almonte all the way back in 2006 when the 17-year-old Dominican outfielder was first signed.
Fast forward seven years later, and Almonte is making an impact for the Yankees and should garner some consideration in fantasy baseball leagues as well.
Almonte was hitting .297 with six home runs, 36 RBI and a .369 OBP in Triple-A this year before the Yanks called him up to help out a battered and slumping lineup. The switch hitter got his second major league hit in his first at bat, a pinch-hit single on Thursday. On Friday he got his first start and went 3-for-4 with his first home run, and he followed that up with three RBI with one hit and two walks the next day. As long as he keeps this up, manager Joe Girardi will have no choice but to continue to pencil him into the lineup.
The 24-year-old Almonte took time developing in the minors, spending a good portion of five years in rookie ball and Single-A before breaking out in Double-A in 2012 with 21 home runs and 15 steals with an .810 OPS. After continuing success in Triple-A this year, he finally donned the pinstripes after all these years in the organization and has already shown off some of his potential. More experienced than many young rookies, he has shown impressive patience at the plate while displaying some of his power as well.
As long as he’s hitting he’s going to continue to see playing time, at least until Curtis Granderson returns. Even when Grandy comes back, Almonte should continue to at least see at bats against lefties, which the Yanks are struggling mightily against this season. He should be added in deep AL-only leagues and dynasty leagues right now, and those in standard leagues should continue to monitor him. If he continues his success, he’s worth adding in all formats for those in need of outfield help.