One of the biggest signings by the Cincinnati Reds in 2021 during the international signing period, Ariel Almonte was one of several standout hitters on the Dominican Summer League Reds. The then 17-year-old hit .278/.398/.438 in his professional debut.
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Cincinnati brought Ariel Almonte to the Arizona Complex League in 2022. The then 18-year-old had a big debut in the US, going 3-3 with a walk, double, and two runs batted in. But he would go into a slump after that, hitting just .217/.294/.283 for the final three weeks of the month with four walks and 21 strikeouts in just 51 plate appearances.
When the calendar flipped to July, a light switch also seemed to flip on for Almonte. The outfielder went on a tear over the first three weeks, hitting .390/.479/.610 with five extra-base hits, five walks, and just seven strikeouts in 11 games played. He would slump over the final week of the month, going 2-16 (.125) with a double and a home run – with both hits coming in the same game (and he also walked in that game). In August he only played in 11 games as the season came to an end before the month was over and the team missed nearly a week of play, too. He would hit well in that limited action, though, posting a .290/.436/.677 line for the month with six extra-base hits and eight walks.
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Ariel Almonte Scouting Report
Position: Outfield | B/T: L/R
Height: 6′ 3″ | Weight: 218 lbs | Acquired: International Free Agent (2021)
Born: December 1, 2003
Hitting | The hit-tool is fringe-average.
Power | He shows above-average to plus raw power.
Speed | He has below-average speed.
Defense | He’s a below-average defender.
Arm | He has an above-average arm.
After a tough first few weeks, Ariel Almonte turned his season around and put up big time offensive numbers. Overall his strikeout rate jumped up from where it was in 2021, but in the final two months of 2022 it was identical to where it was in his debut. His power took a step forward. Part of that could be the fact that he continued to get bigger and stronger – his listed weight jumped up more than 25 pounds and he’s now listed at 6′ 3″ tall and 218 pounds.
Almonte is a bit pull and center happy, with very few batted balls going the other way. He showed plenty of power to both center and right field. That wasn’t the case in 2021 where he had an even spread of batted balls to left, center, and right. It’s something worth keeping an eye on moving forward. The same thing can be said about his strikeout rate, which was 30% on the season, but even after the noted improvement above it was still 26.5% in those final two months. That’s a rate that can work at the highest level, but if that’s the rate in complex ball it’s going to require continued work and development to keep it there against better pitchers.
In the field he struggled a bit, but also found some success. He made five errors in 37 games, giving him a .923 fielding percentage in right field. That’s going to have to improve moving forward. But he did have six assists in that same time period and also helped turn in three double plays. As a below-average runner he’s probably never going to be considered a good defender because it’s likely going to limit his range, but his arm strength could stick out and play well at the position.
There’s plenty of development that will need to take place moving forward, but that can be said for just about every teenage baseball player that’s ever lived. Almonte’s profile is that for a bat-first corner outfielder, but if things go right you’re looking at a guy who could hit a bunch of home runs, have a solid average, and play acceptable defense with a strong arm in right field.
— Prospects Worldwide (@ProspectsWorldW) August 20, 2022
Ariel Almonte Spray Chart
Interesting Stat on Ariel Almonte
After struggling in June he went on to hit .307/.425/.591 in the final two months of the season – though that only accounted for 27 total games and just 106 plate appearances.