Signed out of the Dominican Republic, Almanzar was the highest paid– $8 million after taxes— among the Padres prospect-laden international class of 2016, many of whom have passed him since coming stateside. Nonetheless, Almanzar is still a solid prospect in his own right with a strong set of tools to build from. He has struggled mightily in 2018 in High-A as an 18 year-old, and I got looks at Almanzar May 14-17 and May 29-31, after seeing him on the complex June 2017.
Almanzar is an above-average athlete with a less projectible, stocky build compared to his infield-mates in Fort Wayne (Esteury Ruiz, Gabriel Arias, Justin Lopez). He’s thickened up in the past year, but he maintains his quick feet and agility to have middle infield value, grading out to 50 at shortstop and 55 at both 3B and 2B with an average arm. He’s also a 55 runner. At the plate, Almanzar has solid pop, projecting to 50 raw power. He takes an ample stride to help create natural line drive-plus loft oriented to pull power, aided by a fast bat. That same stride makes it difficult for Almanzar to keep his weight back on good spin, swinging through it in the zone with regularity. His approach flashed feel to hit, laying off strikes thrown to good spots and choosing good ones to hack at. He is not a good deep count hitter, and there’s tendency to get over-aggressive on anything straight. Getting in counts to do damage is a challenge.
Almanzar has four average or better tools on the dirt, which gets him well on his way to a utility future. I’m higher on him than that. Despite his struggles with contact, his youth affords time to adjust, and the physical ability is there to raise his hit tool to FV 40. Add in corner OF eventually, and the total package is a role 45 super utility player with a little bit of pop and defensive value.