After spending parts of two seasons between the Dominican Summer League and Arizona Rookie League, Miguel Almonte was deployed to Low-A Lexington in 2013 for his full-season debut.
Though he was both young and inexperienced relative to the competition, that didn’t prevent the 20-year-old right-hander from emerging as one of the top pitchers in the South Atlantic League. Making 25 starts on the season, Almonte posted an impressive 3.10 ERA and excellent strikeout (24.7 percent) and walk (6.7 percent), while his 1.16 WHIP ranked fifth among all qualified starters.
At 6’2”, 180 pounds, Almonte has a loose, athletic frame that allows for smooth mechanics and encourages his fast but fluid arm. The right-hander has an aggressive approach and attacks the zone with a projectable four-pitch mix, demonstrating a rare blend of pure stuff and feel for a player of his age.
Almonte’s fastball is a plus offering that works consistently in the 91-95 mph range with above-average life, and it’s conceivable that he’ll add velocity as he adds strength. The changeup is a present plus with plus-plus potential and, in general, is highly advanced for his age; he shows confidence in the pitch against both right- and left-handed hitters, and it already serves as a swing-and-miss offering.
Although he’s young, Almonte has an impressive overall feel for changing speeds and keeping hitters off balance, throwing a curveball that features a nice shape and has average potential as well as a slider that’s inconsistent but definitely usable.
Though Almonte may hit some road bumps between the High- and Double-A levels and will need to develop a consistent breaking ball, he has all the makings of a high-end mid-rotation starter in the major leagues.