Almonte hoping for return to the majorsDespite crowded outfield, don't be surprised to see Almonte in the Bronx in 2014
Background: Zoilo Almonte is a 24-year-old Dominican outfielder for the New York Yankees. He was originally signed by the Yankees as an amateur free agent in 2005, and made his major-league debut for the Yankees in 2014. In eight seasons in the minor leagues, he's a career .269 hitter with 76 home runs.
2013 Season: Almonte was hitting above .300 for the majority of his time in 2013 but hit a cold streak toward the end of the season. In June and July, when the Yankees were crushed by injuries, Almonte was thrown into the fire as a starter in his rookie season and handled it incredibly well. He finished with a .236 average with 1 home run and 9 RBI.
Greatest Strength: Almonte is a pretty good all-around player. He's never been known as a top prospect in the organization, but he's solid all around the ball. He played well in the outfield in 2013, and can steal some bases as well as hit the ball out of the ballpark.
Greatest Weakness: Almonte's greatest weakness right now is simply that he won't have a spot on the 2014 Yankees roster off the bat. With Soriano, Ichiro, Gardner, Ellsbury and Beltran, the Yankees already have more than enough outfielders. In this likely event that one of them misses some time with an injury, though, he'll be the first guy to get called up.
Prediction: Triple-A makes sense for Almonte at least to start, so that he sees the best pitching possible at the minor-league level. It may not be long before he's needed in the Bronx, though, and don't be shocked if he sees another 35 games of action in 2014.