SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Yency Almonte has always been a starter, believes he is a starter and may end up as a starter.However, the Rockies' No. 10 prospect is working out of the bullpen in the Arizona Fall League.While Almonte has been told that he's going to remain a starter and
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Yency Almonte has always been a starter, believes he is a starter and may end up as a starter.
However, the Rockies' No. 10 prospect is working out of the bullpen in the Arizona Fall League.
While Almonte has been told that he's going to remain a starter and is just working in relief to limit innings and further develop his stuff, the 23-year old isn't opposed to a future relief role and appears to be excited to add another element to his pitching arsenal.
"I've seen a lot of guys who go up as a reliever, just to get their feet wet," Almonte said. "So I'm pretty pumped about it to be thrown into the action. I'm looking forward to it."
Almonte got his first taste of Double-A late last season, making five starts after he was called up in August 2016. The right-hander started 2017 with Double-A Hartford and after posting a 2.00 ERA through 14 starts, worked his way up to Triple-A Albuquerque.
Almonte finished with a 3-1 record and a 4.89 ERA in eight games (seven starts) at Albuquerque and finished strong as he didn't allow a run in any of his final three appearances (12 innings).
"The experience for me was worthwhile," Almonte said. "To say, 'Wow, I'm throwing to so-and-so, who has been in the show for five, six years, he's dominant.' It just showed me that if I'm playing with those guys and can get those guys out, hopefully I can do that at the big league level."
Rockies hitters in the Fall League:
Brian Mundell, 1B (No. 14)
Dom Nunez, C (No. 15)
Yonathan Daza, OF
Mundell, a seventh-round pick in 2015, burst onto the scene in 2016 as he led the Class A South Atlantic League in a number of offensive categories. Mundell followed that up with another strong season this year, slashing .300/.385/.472 across 119 games. The 23-year-old also fared well against increased competition as he hit .302 in 52 games after he was bumped up to Double-A in June.
Nunez has struggled at the plate over the past few seasons, hitting .202 in 95 games with Double-A Hartford this year, but part of those decreased numbers could be the result of the rigors of learning a new defensive position. The former infielder was switched to catcher prior to the 2014 season and has made significant strides, although admittedly still has plenty to learn behind the plate.
Daza spent the entire season with Class A Advanced Lancaster and did nothing but rake. The 23-year-old hit .341 in 125 games. The California League is a hitter-friendly environment, however, so that likely contributed to Daza's monster season, but he is a career .310 hitter in the Minor Leagues.
Rockies pitchers in the Fall League:
James Farris, RHP (No. 21)
Shane Broyles, RHP
Zach Jemiola, RHP
Farris was a starter in college at the University of Arizona but has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen in pro ball. Pitching in shorter stints has helped Farris increase the velocity in his fastball, which sits in the low-to-mid 90s. The 25-year-old, who spent the bulk of the season with Triple-A Albuquerque, has good command and struck out 69 in 48 innings this year.
Broyles, 26, is coming off what may have been his best season since he was drafted in the 14th round of the 2012 Draft. Broyles pitched 54 2/3 innings in 48 appearances and posted a 1.81 ERA. The right-hander was dominant during a midseason stretch during which he made 20 appearances and didn't give up an earned run from June 14 to Aug. 13.
Jemiola reached Triple-A in 2017, but he didn't have the season he wanted as he struggled with an oblique injury. Jemiola, who posted a 6.48 ERA, only pitched 93 innings and will be looking to make up for lost time, as well as get better results, while in the Fall League.
William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.