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.

For all 2022 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).

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.


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.

11 Responses

  1. DaveCT

    It’ll be interesting and possibly a test of patience for the high end guys playing in Daytona this year, given the league’s ballparks. I imagine Almontes’ power will still play there, though as with others he may have some numbers suppressed. This would be a good interview question for players, how do they adjust to the league’s ballparks and what do they learn playing there.

  2. Doc

    Interesting that the tag “small sample size” is frequently used when convenient for the writer/poster, but these reviews are basically a recitation of small sample size increments.

    • DaveCT

      I’ve noticed how similar several of the write-ups (performances) are, given hot streaks and cold spells, especially among the younger players. I think what frequently gets lost is the fact that the 17, 18, 19 years olds (at a minimum) are essentially older adolescents. Learning consistency is one of the major tasks they have to develop anyway, so It’s no surprise to see the ups and downs.

    • Doug Gray

      When we’re talking about the guys in rookie ball everything is a small sample size because they played in 40-50 games.

  3. Old Big Ed

    I know that all 15 teams in the Arizona Complex League have to play in the same weather, but I have to wonder if having these guys play at 6p on 102 degree-days all summer really tells us a whole lot about them.

    They will never play in similar conditions anywhere else in organized baseball. Breaking balls don’t behave the same in the desert as they do in the Midwest or east coast, so are teams really getting a good read on either pitchers or hitters? In spring training and I assume mid-summer, there are many days when there is a strong wind blowing out, and teams will easily score 10+ runs on fairly cheap homers.

    It seems like an odd environment in which to evaluate players, with some guys being under-valued and others over-valued. Florida isn’t that much better, because most guys won’t again have to play outside in consistently hot and muggy weather. Sure, Cincinnati and St. Louis, among others, will have some humid days in mid-summer, but not endlessly for 3 months both at home and on the road.

    The teams have their infrastructure in place in Arizona, and I suppose that they aren’t going to change, but playing the “complex” leagues in places like Fayetteville, Arkansas or Lincoln, Nebraska or State College, Pennsylvania would seem to give teams a better idea of what they have in these young players.

    As a spring training fan, I love everything about the Cactus League. There is a buzz in the air for baseball; the weather is predictable; restaurants of every sort abound; drive times are very reasonable; and there are plenty of other things to do, like hiking Camelback Mountain. But for baseball purposes, I think the Reds ought to consider swapping out with the Twins or Astros and train in Florida instead of Arizona, even if I would probably still go to Arizona.

    • DaveCT

      I have wondered about the same, most recently discussing the loss of the Billings team. And I think much of the same experience holds true for fans.

    • BK

      Good points OBE. While the ST experience is really nice, AZ is a tough place to play games during the summer. Like so many things, I’m sure Arizona offered sufficient enticements to lure the Reds and Indians away from Florida, but Florida would be a better site for the Red’s complex in today’s environment.

      In Billings, the Reds had the prime location within the Pioneer League. I had hoped that Billings might get picked up as a full-season location during the MiLB shuffle. That said, the weather would be a real challenge during the first third of the season in Billings.

      • DaveCT

        That, and the smoke from fires in the summer, along with the PNW. But still. Billings Montana.

      • Colorado Red

        With the humidity FLA is just as bad (Lived there for 6 years in Tampa)
        AZ is a dry heat (as is an oven). Both are opresive.

      • Doug Gray

        There was no chance Billings would get picked up. The travel from any other teams secured that one.

  4. Stock

    Every year there are at least 2 or 3 players who are new additions to Doug’s top 10 (or at least were not in the previous year end top 10. Some leave via graduation and some leave because Doug feels they are no longer top 10 worthy. Four players in last year’s top 10 graduated (Greene, Lodolo, Barrero and Ashcraft). Doug determined that four players in last year’s top 10 were not worthy of such designation (Williamson, Hinds, Allen and Roa).

    The question is what players have a chance to jump into Doug’s 2023 YE top 10. Here are the players outside Doug’s top 15 that have the best chance from where I sit.

    Joe Boyle, Carlos Jorge, Ariel Almonte and Austin Hendrick. I think anyone in the 11 – 15 slots except Rece Hinds has a shot at making the top 10.

    Now who will fall out of the top 10? I think the top 4 are safe. I think Steer will graduate and fall out. I think McLain and Chase Petty are safe. Phillips probably remains in the top 10.

    That leaves CES and Sal Stewart as potential dropouts. If CES produces like he did for the Minnesota franchises he is safe. If he hits as he did in Chattanooga he probably drops out of the top 10. His K/BB ratio in Chattanooga is not what you want from a prospect.

    I think Stewart’s hit tool is pretty good but Jay Allen was just as effective in Arizona and he fell from 8th to 13th this year. It is probably partly because of what I saw from Allen this year that I only have Stewart at #15 this year.

    My bold prediction for next year’s top 10: Out – Steer, CES, Stewart.
    In – Abbott, Boyle, Hendrick

    Strong chance of being most improved in Doug’s rankings: Hendrick, Almonte, Boyle and Jorge.