From pink hair to hits: Adael Amador's invite to Major League camp

February 15th, 2024

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The word looks like a warning, stitched in bold, pink capital letters on the glove of middle infielder , the Rockies’ top prospect and the 28th-ranked man on the MLB Pipeline Top 100 list.


But if Amador has his way, cancer should be afraid of him. Amador, who had a dominant 54 games at High-A Spokane before struggling through a hand injury for 10 games at Double-A Hartford, wears the inscription in honor of his grandfather, Ramón Santiago, who is waging a two-year battle against the disease back home in the Dominican Republic.

Amador, in his first year on the Major League 40-man roster, doesn’t turn 21 until April. Fans who don’t delve into the prospect list may not know who he is.

Amador is slated for greater exposure on March 16, when a team of Rockies prospects meets Diamondbacks prospects as part of MLB’s Spring Breakout at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. The game will be broadcast on Major League Baseball’s digital platforms and MLB network and tickets for the game are available now.

But know this: Before he has accumulated anything at the Major League level – which he conceivably can reach this season – Amador is already planning to give back.

“My grandpa has cancer – that’s mainly the reason,” Amador said, with Rockies bullpen catcher Aaron Muñoz interpreting. “But also I have a foundation regarding cancer.

“It’s still in the early stages, so we haven’t come up with a name yet. But early April, we can get that established.”

There’s a No. 2 stitched on Amador’s glove, also in pink. That has nothing to do with the disease.

“I like pink, so I wear pink,” Amador said. “I even sometimes dye my hair pink.”

Most of his tattoos honor family and offer inspiration, but his right arm holds a tattoo of José Reyes, a favorite player of his as a youth. Reyes, who now offers Amador advice, played for the Rockies in 2015, and Amador said, “he’s told me it’s a great organization, and he respected his time here.”

So Amador’s immediate impression is he has a giving heart and a bold personality. And if he plays to billing, fans will learn – and want to learn – more.

A switch-hitter, Amador was named the top prospect in the Northwest League after managing 67 hits in 54 games at Spokane. He compiled a .302/.391/.514 slash line with nine home runs and 35 RBIs. In 259 plate appearances, he managed more walks (31) than strikeouts (26). Late in his time in Spokane, however, he missed time with a hamate bone injury in his right hand. He was promoted to Hartford, but the injury limited him to 10 appearances and a .143 batting average with one home run.

Amador made up for lost playing time by making 21 appearances for RA12 in the Puerto Rican Winter League, where he hit .243 and continued displaying judiciousness with the strike zone – 15 walks against 13 strikeouts.

Like many anticipated prospects, Amador must fight an urge to press in Major League camp. If the team’s development patterns hold, he will return to Hartford to start the year, but there will be no qualms with moving him to Triple-A or even the Majors when performance warrants.

For now, Amador is to learn in big league camp. Facing high-level pitching and fine-tuning his play at second base after playing shortstop previously. The Spring Breakout game will be a treat along the way.

“When he’s healthy, he plays a game that he’s taking ownership of,” Rockies player development director Chris Forbes said. “A line-drive approach with occasional power but with more doubles than home runs, and he walks more than he strikes out, which is such an outlier now. Ultimately he’ll play a lot more second base, but he can still play short.”

A first Major League camp and the Spring Breakout are what Amador hopes are the first steps of a year that could put him on the Major League stage.

“Obviously, you feel close,” Amador said. “You feel excited because you feel like you can make it.”