The 23 year old was originally signed as a non-draftee in 2005 out of the Dominican Republic. Zoilo is currently on the 40-man roster and played in the Yankees first Spring Training game of the year contributing with a two-run blast to help in the 8-3 win over the Atlanta Braves.
New York's scouts have graded Zoilo as a future everyday right fielder. Last year in his first year on Double-A Trenton Thunder, Almonte batted .277 with 21 home runs, 64 runs scored and 70 RBIs in 106 games.
The young Dominican has steadily climbed through the Yankees farm system improving every step of the way. Zoilo can hit for power, though his discipline at the plate needs some work considering his high strikeout total (103). He is athletic, has speed and a strong arm garnering 10 outfield assists. He's a smart base runner and should consistently have double-digits in the steal department.
With the injury to Curtis Granderson this gives the Yankees the opportunity to see if one of their young guns can break through and help this team now. Yes, there are a lot of veteran options in camp like Mike Diaz and Juan Rivera, but wouldn't it be refreshing if the Yankees brass would let a youngster break into the starting lineup from spring. If they are so worried about the payroll now is the time to experiment at the beginning of this season. If Almonte breaks through when Granderson returns he could be the fourth outfielder since he has played all three outfield positions.If Zoilo doesn't pan out he goes back to the Minors and continues his progression to the big leagues. This is a win-win situation for New York and hopefully they see this as an opportunity to give the kid a chance something they are not known for doing.
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Tags: Baseball, Joe Girardi, MLB, New York, New York Yankees, spring training, Trenton Thunder, Zoilo Almonte