Sunday, March 2, 2014

Miguel Almonte to open in NWA?

There are few prospects in the Royals system that offer the upside of Dominican right hander Miguel Almonte. At just 20 years old, Almonte has posted a 2.75 ERA over 219.1 professional innings. It appears that after dominated the South Atlantic League in 2013, the Royals are considering jumping him all the way to Northwest Arkansas to open the 2014 season. Here's what Royals assistant general manager J.J. Picollo had to say on the subject:
"Miguel is very advanced, and there is some thinking now that there may not be a need for him to see high-A ball. On the one hand, he's only 20 years old. But he is so refined already that we don't necessarily want to hold his age against him."
 You can read the article in its entirety here.

Make no mistake about it Almonte is a stud and he is extremely advanced for his age. His fastball sits 90-94 and can touch 97 and his change up is considered the best in the system by Baseball America. The only thing holding Almonte back from being a front line starter is his curveball which has been inconsistent throughout his brief professional career.

Last season the fastball and change were plenty to make work of South Atlantic League lineups. Considering the pitcher friendliness of Frawley Stadium and the Carolina League, I'm not sure that High-A Wilmington will challenge Almonte to continue to improve a third offering. For this reason jumping him to the Texas League makes a lot of sense.

Almonte is advanced for his age. Sending him to carve his way through Carolina League lineups likely isn't going to put enough pressure on him to focus in on the curveball. I'd like to see the Royals aggressively assign Almonte to the Naturals. If they do, you can bet that I'll be making the trek to Arvest Ballpark to get my first glimpse of one of the Royals top prospects.

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