Zoilo Almonte: Is he the Z-Pak for what ails the Yankees?

Zoilo gives the curtain call. - Jim McIsaac

You can see with your eyes that Zoilo Almonte has been one of the few effective Yankee batters over the last month. Advanced degrees in mathematics are not required in this case, because the decline in production has been that steep. The team averaged 4.62 runs scored per game in April. That dropped to 3.64 runs per game in May, and the slide continued in June to the tune of 3.26 average runs. Last month the team's OPS was .620, and that's with nearly half of the games played in hitter-friendly New Yankee Stadium. The dramatic slides of early season heroes have been well documented. Looking at baseball players through their first 20 games is not usually recommended for anyone interested in actually learning anything. However, I don't think anyone considered Almonte to be a prominent call-up this year during the preseason, and over the last month he has actually been the Yankees third most productive hitter in the lineup with a 91 wRC+. Is there anything interesting we can glean so far from his stats beyond his unusual name?

BB%

K%

ISO

BABIP

AVG

OBP

SLG

wRC+

Almonte

5.6%

15.3%

.104

.321

.284

.319

.388

91

AL Avg:

8.4%

17.8%

.164

.304

.269

.334

.433

109

Probably what you expected. He walks less than league average, but he strikes out less as well. He's only had one home run in 72 plate appearances so far, so seeing a substantially below league average ISO can't be surprising either. The one thing he does well is hit for an acceptable average, but you might focus in on his BABIP and wonder if that's a risk in this case.


LD%

GB%

FB%

GB/FB

IFFB%

IFH%

Almonte

24.6%

52.6%

22.8%

2.31

7.7%

13.3%

AL Avg:

21.3%

43.2%

35.5%

1.30

9.0%

5.6%

Almonte squares up on the ball better than average with a 24.6% line-drive rate. This should dispel any BABIP concerns for the most part. If that doesn't, then the fact that he's consistently had higher rates in the minors should. It's pretty clear why he's not hitting for much power when over half of the balls he puts in play are grounders.

One concern is the amount of infield hits per ground balls he's been getting. He is clearly athletic, but he's never been a significant speed threat in the minors. That 13.3% rate would be the fifth highest among qualified American League hitters. Only Mike Trout, Ichiro Suzuki, Dustin Pedroia and Michael Bourn have higher rates. It seems safe to say that he's going to lose a little bit there going forward. That's a bit kind, actually. The problem with these small samples is a couple of hits means a whole lot. If you assumed Almonte's infield hits were only a league average, then his batting average would slip all the way to .254. That's what two extra base hits will do in 67 at-bats.


Swing%

O-Swing%

Contact%

O-Contact%

Z-Contact%

Zone%

Almonte

49.4%

39.3%

82.1%

69.8%

91.4%

45.8%

AL Avg:

45.0%

28.6%

81.1%

65.6%

88.4%

49.0%

I'll admit that this surprised me somewhat, as I thought he looked fairly selective in his at bats that I've watched. I clearly haven't seen every one of his trips to the plate, because Almonte is a bit of a free swinger. It's causing him to get less than average looks at pitches inside the strike zone. So far he's making slightly more contact overall, but that's coming from a significantly higher rate on pitches outside of the zone. His swinging-strike rate isn't materially higher than league average, but you have to wonder if he can hold that up if this trend continues. So on what types of pitches has he had success with so far?


wFA/C (pfx)

wFT/C (pfx)

wFC/C (pfx)

wSL/C (pfx)

wCU/C (pfx)

wCH/C (pfx)

Almonte

0.60

(1.42)

(7.56)

(1.68)

(2.10)

1.93

AL Avg

0.48

0.60

0.17

(0.25)

0.72

0.13

These are Almonte's PITCHf/x runs above average per 100 pitches. Almonte has been a good four-seam fastball and change-up hitter, but anything with any movement has been a struggle so far for him. I know that's a classic young kid up from the minors facing major league pitching for the first time can't hit the breaking ball kind of analysis. However, these issues seem consistent with some old prospect reports from previous years.

Almonte looks to be a decent hitter for average which, on the current Yankees team, makes him valuable. There are some signs that suggest he can maintain that level of play when comparing to his minor league track record, but he's been lucky so far on infield hits. We should probably think of him more as a .250-.260 hitter than one hitting .280. He's swinging at way too many pitches outside of the strike zone. It seems highly likely that those are breaking pitches given the data above. I don't think that Almonte would be in the majors if circumstances hadn't fallen just right for him.

Obviously this is the highest level of play, and all rookies usually struggle at some aspect of the game, but the degree to which Almonte struggles against all forms of movement is alarming. He probably needs to adjust his approach before the league adjusts even more to him. A left fielder hitting for a .284 average might seem valuable right now. What if you take away his two extra infield hits and lower his average down into the .250 area? Then you kind of get an outfield version of this current Yankee hitter:


AVG

OBP

SLG

Zoilo Almonte

.284

.319

.388

Chris Stewart

.255

.332

.323

Latest News

In This Article

Teams
Players
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Pinstripe Alley

You must be a member of Pinstripe Alley to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Pinstripe Alley. You should read them.

Join Pinstripe Alley

You must be a member of Pinstripe Alley to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Pinstripe Alley. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker