On Monday the Braves signed free agent OF Zoilo Almonte to a one year major league deal. Here’s what you need to know.
The terms are still mostly unknown aside from the length – 1 year. You have to imagine the money is on the low end, so I doubt the details matter too much.
Signed as an undrafted FA out of the Dominican Republic in 2005, Almonte made his rookie ball debut in 2007, where he hit .268/.307/.395 in 50 games as an 18-year old. He repeated the level in 2008, hitting .239/.291/.372.
Almonte had a slight breakout in low-A ball in 2009, batting .274/.355/.440 with 7 HR in 69 games. After that, he moved fairly quickly through the system. In the high minors, his power blossomed, with 24 HR in 152 AA games and 24 in 173 AAA games. He’s had limited success at the MLB level with limited opportunity. Also worth pointing out is his speed – he is 29/39 in steals at those higher levels.
John Sickels wrote a nice review of Almonte in 2013 worth checking out.
A switch-hitting fourth outfielder with some power, ability to swipe a bag, OBP ability, and flexible defense can help anyone. – John Sickels
The now 25-year old switch-hitter has a lot of swing-and-miss in his approach. Batting from the right side, he chases offspeed stuff low and below the zone. When batting lefty, high fastballs give him some trouble, as well as the same offspeed stuff low.
The lack of consistent contact keeps him on the bench, but as a switch hitter with pop he has some upside there.
Disappointing news, Braves fans: signing Zoilo Almonte doesn’t mean we’ve found a replacement for B.J. Upton. Almonte currently slots as a backup corner outfielder who serves as a switch-hitting option off the bench.
Here’s hoping he thrives in the role.
Player Card at Brooks Baseball
Player Card at Texas Leaguers
Player Page at Fangraphs