Michael Almanzar Scouting Report (2009)
The most expensive signing of the 2007 international free agent class, Michael Almanzar began the 2009 season in Greenville after moderate success during his stateside debut. In just over 400 at bats, Almanzar posted a disappointing .220/.276/.298 line across two minor league levels (demoted mid-season) exhibiting poor plate discipline and power numbers. At 19, Almanzar still has time to right the ship, but questions about his work ethic and drive have soured many on Almanzar’s prospect status.
Physique & Athleticism – At a listed height/weight of 6’3″, 190 lbs., Michael Almanzar lacked muscle definition in both his upper and lower body while sporting a uniform which was at least a couple of sizes too large for his frame. The uniform made his appearance look sloppy and left me with a poor first impression. In time, Almanzar has the frame to support an additional thirty pounds and his limbs are slim and long which should keep him from becoming bulky as he matures.
From an athletic standpoint, Almanzar’s baseball movements were slow developing, long, and a bit awkward. He showed glimpses of fluidity, but he simply had too much going on for his movements to be easily repeated. He will need to tighten up all areas of his game to gain the consistency needed to break through.
Offense – In the batter’s box, Almanzar sports an deep, athletic crouch with a ton of extra hand and body movement which led to a long load and swing. The load includes a double-foot tap reminiscent of Sammy Sosa which makes him have to fully uncoil prior to swinging the bat. This leaves him out front on most pitches as forward momentum forces him to swing from his front foot. This negates whatever power is generated from his excellent bat speed leaving him off balance and unable to make adjustments mid-pitch.
When he does make solid contact, he is able to drive the baseball as exhibited by an at bat in which little more than a front foot check swing led to a double off of the right field wall. He collected three more hits in the series (two to the opposite field) which forced me to consider whether Michael Almanzar was a strong opposite field hitter or simply unable to pull pitches due to so much extra movement in his swing. I am pretty sure the answer is the latter just by reviewing the numbers.
Defense – At third base, Almanzar showed a slow first step and little more than step-and-a-dive range. The plus arm I was expecting to see from reports online was simply average. First base is likely to become Almanzar’s home as his reactions there were much better. He made a diving stop on a laser of a line drive and showed decent footwork around the bag.
Speed – Almanzar’s feet will never be an asset as his slightly below average speed will only become worse as he fills out. He has a long stride and takes awhile to reach top speed because of it.
Michael Almanzar: 2010 And Beyond
2010 will be a very important year for Almanzar’s development. At 19, he will still be young for full season baseball, but not so young that another disappointing season will be swept under the rug. Michael Almanzar has very good to excellent raw offensive tools, but his current approach will never allow them to play at higher levels. To be successful, he will need to drop the excess flash in favor of better discipline and fundamentals or he will become another international bust.
17 Jan 2014 / Mike Newman /
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