After a forgettable season in 2016, Miguel Almonte has showed signs of life in AA Northwest Arkansas. How long until he contributes for the KC Royals?
Miguel Almonte, the KC Royals #16 prospect according to MLB.com, has had a great start to his 2017 season. This has come after an atrocious 2016 season in which he posted a 5.90 ERA and a career high 10.7 H/9, pitching in both the rotation and bullpen.
The KC Royals decided to keep Almonte down in AA, pitching him mostly out of the rotation. So far, the results have been encouraging.
Almonte has appeared in four games this year, three starts. He has a 0.98 ERA, along with a 9.8 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 (!).
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A big part of this has been his much improved command. In his first four appearances this year, he’s throwing strikes at a 62.9% clip. For reference, in his first four appearances last year, he threw strikes 55.4% of the time.
When Almonte has his issues, it circles around his hard fastball. A lot of times, Almonte can’t command his heater, which causes everything else to roll down the hill. His inconsistent breaking ball doesn’t break, he’ll hang his curveball, won’t be able to locate his changeup.
But when he is on… he might be one of the best pitchers to watch in the KC Royals organization. He can work his changeup with beauty, throw his hard fastball with confidence.
Some prospect writers so far have had mixed reviews on Almonte.
Some believe he can still pitch in the rotation, such as MLB.com.
"Scouts who still believe in Almonte see some similarities between him and Edinson Volquez, and they think mechanical adjustments could help him realize his potential as a starter."
Some see bullpen, such as former scout Bernie Pleskoff.
"I realize his arm is strong, fast and powerful. However, I project Almonte to be more effective as a reliever than as a starter. The Royals probably see things differently. That’s why he’s starting now in Omaha. They can certainly use a pitcher of his caliber in their rotation in the future."
If Almonte keeps pitching well in the NW Arkansas rotation, he could have a quick ticket north to Omaha. At that rate, Almonte would be in a position to contribute for the KC Royals fairly soon.
I imagine the Royals will take it easy with Almonte this time. He could very well be up in September though, probably pitching mostly out of the bullpen.
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I believe Almonte can still utilize his pitches in the rotation. As for starting, next year would be a more realistic goal for him to pitch in the majors. But him contributing in the bullpen, that could very soon.