New York Yankees Prospect Watch: Zoilo Almonte
A new year brings the allure of a brand new baseball season to go along with it. Every team is putting the finishing touches on their off-season and is looking forward to the beginning of Spring Training. For the New York Yankees however, things seem a bit different this year to the fans.
The reason for this is because we have seen the Yankees actually take an adamant stand about their payroll conundrum this off-season, passing up players that would have easily been had if George Steinbrenner was still running the team. Because of the Yankees not being the big spenders they once were, they are going to have to look within their system to solve their problems.
One of the more gaping problems that they have is the fact that they do not have a fourth outfielder who could hit right-handed. While they did just sign Matt Diaz to a minor league deal, there is no telling how he will respond after only having played 67 games in the last two seasons.
Zoilo Almonte has the opportunity to be a possible fix.
Yankees fans certainly remember Almonte from Spring Training last year, where he was able to showcase the talent that he had, and at the same time, prove that he could one day be an option for the Yankees.
That day has come.
Zoilo spent the 2012 season with the Double-A Trenton Thunder and hit .277 with 21 homeruns, and 70 RBIs, and was one of Trenton’s most prominent hitters.
Scouts like Almonte because they say that he has a very high ceiling and has all the tools to succeed on the big league level. However, Zoilo has been known to get himself into prolonged slumps, which is something that needs to be worked on. As a switch hitter, he has a fair amount of pop in his bat, and will aim towards the gaps instead of trying to hit a homerun. His defense isn’t necessarily amazing, but it’s good enough to work out. He also has some speed, and could steal anywhere from 10-15 bases in a season.
Should Almonte once again prove that he can make it in the big leagues, there is the possibility of him making the club right out of Spring Training as a reserve outfielder. However, if Almonte shows that he needs a little bit more seasoning, he could start the season in Triple-A and then see a call-up to the Bronx sometime during the season. Either way, it will be interesting to see how Zoilo Almonte fares when he ultimately steps onto the grass at Yankee Stadium.