3.) Miguel Almonte RP
I bet you were expecting to see Richard Lovelady somewhere in here, weren’t ya? Well, fear not, I still think Lovelady has a tremendously bright future in Kansas City, possibly beginning in 2018. But Miguel Almonte is a guy I don’t see people write about very often that I still think has a ton of value left.
Almonte was throwing the ball really, really well for Northwest Arkansas and Omaha in 2017. So much so that the Kansas City Royals were going to give him a spot start before it got rained out. Almonte made a couple of appearances out of the Royals bullpen in 2017 but didn’t find a ton of success.
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Almonte’s success in the minors this past season has me really excited about his potential as a reliever. The Kansas City Royals may continue to try to start him, but I think Almonte is best suited in the ‘pen at this point in his career. He’ll be 25 for most of the 2018 season, and he hasn’t been able to put together a full season since 2014.
The right-hander can still run his fastball up there with the best of ’em. His electric arm reminds me of Kelvin Herrera—the way he can effortlessly run the ball into the upper-90s.
He also features arguable the single best pitch in the Royals organization. His changeup is an absolutely lethal offering and shows flashes of pure brilliance when he’s throwing it well.
Almonte’s biggest challenge moving forward is going to be staying healthy. There’s no question that the arm talent is there. His nearly 6:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio at Double-A this year had to be a really encouraging sign for the Royals brain trust. His 1.17 WHIP in 2017 suggests that he’s going to do a good job keeping runners off base, too.
I truly believe that—should Almonte stay healthy—he will be the eighth inning guy after Herrera is traded next summer. He’d be an obvious fit to go with Scott Alexander to fill in the back of that bullpen. A healthy Almonte paired with Alexander could be the next 1-2 punch that the Kansas City Royals bullpen has been looking for.