Going into the 2013 MLB season, it seemed that the only thing that the Yankees could have been proud of was their fantastic set of OF prospects. Tyler Austin, Mason Williams, Ramon Flores, and Slade Heathcott were all prospects that could be big players in the MLB. If you asked any Yankee fan, which Yankee OF prospect would be promoted to the majors first most would say Tyler Austin with the occasional Mason Williams or Slade Heathcott (Flores had has his ups and downs in his minor league career) but you probably would have not heard the name Zoilo Almonte.
Almonte has quickly risen onto the MLB scene and has taken it by storm with many Yankee fans referring to him as “New York’s Yasiel Puig.” Almonte is currently batting .271 with 1 HR and 8 RBI’s and has established himself as the starting LF (where he is an above average fielder), taking the spot away from Vernon Wells.
Before Almonte was called up, Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki were the only OF’s making solid contribution to the Yankees cause and with Wells going cold fast, the Yankees needed a saviour and in his first game in the starting lineup, Almonte hit a jack to right center field to assure the Yankees of a win over AL East foes, the Tampa Bay Rays and since then has been held as a saviour by the Yankees and their fans.
But is this kid the real deal or is it just a few lucky at bats? It’ll take some time before we will be able to tell but currently it seems that it will be just a few lucky AB’s.
Almonte has the potential to be an above average everyday outfielder for the Yankees but nothing special like an Andrew McCutchen or Ichiro Suzuki when he first came into the MLB. Almonte has the potential to be an Austin Jackson type of player. Almonte will most likely be a .270 – .280 hitter over the course of his career that can hit 15-20 HR’s and 70-75 RBI’s a season.
Almonte will be a very useful player for the Yankees going forward, and they have the chance to develop him so that he can be even better but the initial thoughts after seeing him for a few weeks is that he will figure to be a useful player for the Yankees and will fill a void at the corner outfield spot for years to come.