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Yency Almonte had a solid debut season

Showtime proved that he was ready for prime time in 2018

MLB: Miami Marlins at Colorado Rockies Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

You’re reading the 2018 edition of Ranking the Rockies, where we take a look back at the season had by every player to play for the Rockies in 2018. The purpose of this list is to provide a snapshot of the player in context. The “Ranking” is an organizing principle that’s drawn from Baseball Reference’s WAR (rWAR). It’s not something the staff debated. We’ll begin with the player with the least amount of rWAR and end up with the player with the most.

★ ★ ★

No. 19, Yency Almonte (0.4 rWAR)

It was a quiet debut season for “Showtime” Almonte. While the show started out excitingly enough (a hold earned against the Mets in a scoreless 8th inning on June 21st), Yency found himself thrust into some pretty low-leverage situations in his first year in the majors. Almonte picked up a few appearances each month, riding the bench a lot in Denver and spending some time in August back in Albuquerque. He was called up for good on September 1st, and most of his games played were between then and the end of the year.

Most of Almonte’s 14 appearances were in blowout wins, or in situations when the team was already losing. Almonte typically entered the game with the bases empty and had little trouble getting between one and six outs. However, he had a very tough time dealing with inherited runners; eight of the 10 runners he inherited on the year ended up scoring. In addition to those eight runners, he also allowed three runs of his own to score.

On the positive side, Almonte finished the year slightly above replacement level. His 1.84 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 14.2 innings, almost all at altitude, were a solid start to his major league career. His fastball averaged 96 MPH in the majors, and he paired that with a swing-and-miss slider while ahead in the count to keep batters off balance.

Nearly all of Almonte’s games played in the minors were as a starting pitcher, and it would be reasonable to think that he’ll be vying for a rotation spot when he shows up for spring training in 2019. His potential as a starter will hinge on how well he can develop a third pitch (he threw five changeups in the majors in 2018). Unfortunately for Almonte (but fortunately for the Rockies), the competition for rotation spots is stiff, and it’s likely that he starts 2019 in AAA again, with the chance to earn a spot in the bullpen.