Lost and Found: Red Sox Prospect Michael Almanzar, A Late Bloomer with A Long Swing
Editor’s note: Lost and Found is an offseason series in which one underrated prospect from each of the 30 MLB clubs will be discussed in a short, snappy post.
Lost: Signed out of his native Dominican Republic as a shortstop in July 2007, Michael Almanzar averaged 101 games played over the first four years of his pro career, 2008-11. But he also batted .229 overall during that span.
Found: In his fifth Minor League season (second in the Class A Advanced Carolina League) this year, the righty-hitting third baseman/first baseman Almanzar raised eyebrows by reaching base safely in 16 straight plate appearances in July. In total, he also did this:
2012: .300 AVG — .353 OBP — 48 XBH: 12 HR, 36 2B — 33-77 BB-K — 10-14 SB-ATT — 124 G at Class A Adv. Salem
So Almanzar was lost, now he is found. Now, about the Red Sox’s returns: Almanzar has long flashed tools, but he consistently showed his skills in ’12. He still hasn’t played at Double-A and will likely begin next season there, which isn’t huge problem given that he turns 22 on Dec. 2. Whether he reports to Double-A Portland, the Red Sox’s affiliate, is another conversation altogether. See, because it took Almanzar five years just to find himself, he will be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 6 at the Winter Meetings in Nashville. To protect him from the proceedings, Boston’s brass would have to put him on its 40-man roster (which has only once vacancy at the moment) by next Tuesday, Nov. 20. If GM Ben Cherington and Co. elect to hold onto Almanzar, what exactly will they be keeping? A decent corner infielder with a potentially strong bat and gap-to-gap power. Potentially being the key word. Almanzar’s .195 batting average in the Arizona Fall League (entering his Surprise Saguaros’ season finale this afternoon) hasn’t completely quieted concerns about this lanky late bloomer and his still-too-long swing.