Yency Almonte, RHP, Starter
Have you ever looked at someone and said, "wow, that's an athlete," just based on their stature and strut? Well, Yency Almonte not only has the athletic build and strut, but he has the swagger on the field that makes him a standout in the Angels farm system. His brother, Denny, is in the Mariners farm system, is rumored to have hit a 500 foot home run in while with the High-A High Desert Mavericks. Yeah, safe to say this family has some strength and athleticism to them.
Almonte is only 19, which means growth, growth, growth, and... oh yeah, growth. He's already six-foot-three and weighs 185 pounds, which is outstanding for a 19-year-old. But he still has some body strength to gain, and he has some maturity to gain.
Although we bring out that he needs to mature a little, he is mature. On the mound, he looks like a veteran and not necessarily a late teenager. With that, his command is something special. Fastball or off-speed, he can place the ball wherever he'd like to place it. Which for someone as young as Almonte, is very rare.
Almonte's delivery and mechanics are outstanding and deceptive. He pitches out of 3/4 arm slot, and has a long, loose arm that some scouts say will help him in the long run with picking up velocity and innings pitched.
Almonte's fastball sits right around 90-92, with a possible velocity pickup as he grows. He has no trouble painting the corners with the fastball, and it has seemed to be his go-to-pitch in most counts. We have yet to see how it will work at higher levels, but thus far, he has not had trouble keeping his fastball low.
Almonte has two off-speed pitches. A changeup that is average at best, but coaches have told us that it is a focus for next season on making this an above average pitch. Almonte's slider though is far above average currently. With a 10-5 break, Almonte has fooled right-handed batters as the pitch breaks away, but it has been a struggle against left-handed batters. This is another learning curve for the young pitcher.
Almonte's numbers are spectacular in any way. Over two seasons in the minor league system for the Angels, Almonte has posted a 6.87 earned run average and 1.651 WHIP. His biggest problem is the 11.3 hits per nine. Almonte also hasn't shown himself as a strikeout pitcher, striking out just 5.9 per nine. His control is good for a young pitcher at 3.5 walks per nine. Almonte's statistics could skyrocket next season, after some growth.
EXPECTED OF THE FUTURE:
Almonte will probably spend another season in Rookie Ball with a possible callup to Low-A late in the 2014 season. The Angels might not want him to wait until the middle of June to start pitching once Spring Training is done, and could give him a few appearances in Low-A with Burlington, but it is more likely that Almonte won't pitch until June as the possible ace of the Orem Owlz.
As for Almonte's future with the Angels, it's hard to figure out. If Almonte picks up his pace this season, and maintains a steady pace as a top prospect, he could reach the Majors by 2018 or 2019, but that's the risk of taking a high-schooler in the draft. However, there is a lot of promise behind Yency Almonte, as there should be, and he could fast track his way to the top.
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