There is no doubt that Abraham Almonte has made an impression during his first few weeks in the big leagues. A good impression at that.
Since his callup to the Seattle Mariners, he has been showcasing his speed, his defense, and his competency offensively at the plate. Being a part of the September callups on a team not competing usually doesn’t mean much– but Almonte has made his mark and is attempting to state emphatically that he belongs on the major league roster in 2014.
For a bit of background, Almonte was the guy the Mariners got from the Yankees for relief pitcher Shawn Kelley. Kelley has had a run of the mill season in New York, and Almonte looks poised (hopefully) to find his way onto the 25-man roster for the 2014 season.
Let’s look at his numbers thus far on the major league squad:
GP: 23. Triple Slash: .279/.329/.426. 19 hits. 4 doubles. 2 home runs. 9 RBIs. 6 walks. 18 strikeouts.
A couple of notable things about his numbers: he has a three times as many strikeouts as walks. That is a bit troublesome. Even though he is a youngster, he does need to improve his plate discipline, which would boost his OBP and in turn probably boost his OPS over the .800 mark.
It is tough with such a limited exposure to give Almonte his fair and deserved shake. He batted over .300 in AAA Tacoma. And he has been a fun, productive player this month in September.
What is tough to ask of the Mariners right now is what’s next? Is it really feasible to expect all of the home-grown outfielders (including Dustin Ackley) to produce adequately next season to give the Mariners a chance to win?
Frankly, I don’t see that happening. The Mariners desperately need a right field or left field power bat. And that, as of today, isn’t coming from the farm.
But what, then, can Almonte contribute to the Mariners?
I think he could be a 4th/5th outfielder for the M’s next season. Maybe a guy who sits in AAA until someone gets injured.
He will add not only defensive depth, but also speed and some offensive competency that will provide a safety and comfort for a Mariners team that needs depth and breadth in the outfield.
I think that Almonte can make a positive impact on the Mariners in 2014. I sure hope he can. Because the Mariners need more speed on the base paths, and fire in the outfield.
Is that too much to ask?