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Erick Almonte

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Erick Almonte

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 2", Weight 180 lb.

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[edit] Biographical Information

Erick Almonte is the brother of Hector Almonte. He returned to the majors in 2011 after having been absent for 7 seasons.

He was signed at the age of 16 by the New York Yankees. He debuted professionally with the 1996 DSL Yankees, hitting .282 with 8 HR and 36 RBI. In 1997, Erick was on the GCL Yankees and batted .283/~.352/.400. He made the Gulf Coast League All-Star team at third base and led the league's third basemen in putouts (53). Baseball America rated him the #4 prospect in the GCL, ahead of highly-touted teammate Jackson Melian.

Almonte struggled in his first look at a full-season league, hitting .209/~.257/.278 in 120 games while striking out 121 times for the 1998 Greensboro Bats. In 1999, Erick hit .257/~.312/.374 in 61 games for the Tampa Yankees, battling injury. He spent 9 games with the GCL Yankees on a rehab stint, hitting .300/~.367/.567.

In 2000, Almonte made it to AA and had a solid year for the Norwich Navigators, hitting .271/.326/.427 with 16 homers, 77 RBI and 12 steals in 14 tries. He led Eastern League shortstops with 33 errors. Baseball America ranked him the Yankees' #7 prospect. In the Arizona Fall League, he hit .301/?/.515 and made the All-Star team for the Maryvale Saguaros.

Almonte spent 3 games in 2001 with Norwich (.250/.308/.250) but spent most of the year with the Columbus Clippers, hitting .287/.369/.464. He led International League shortstops with 27 errors. Baseball America rated him as the IL's 8th-best prospect, ahead of fellow infielders Joe Crede, Marcus Giles and Brian Roberts and #8 in the Yankees chain. He got a September call-up and went 2 for 4 with a double and two steals in 8 games. In his first game, he was a defensive substitute, handling a Shannon Stewart grounder in his first inning of work. In his first at-bat, he singled to left against Chris Carpenter.

In 2002, Almonte struggled, only hitting .235/.282/.412 for Columbus and getting sent back down to Norwich, where he worked with Luis Sojo. He batted .241/.342/.306 for Norwich. Overall, he smacked 17 homers that year and made 26 errors.

No longer a hot prospect, Almonte batted .240/.310/.380 for Columbus in 48 games in 2003. When Derek Jeter was hurt on opening day, Erick stepped in to hit .260/.321/.350 in 31 games while fielding .906.

A free agent, Erick moved to the Colorado Rockies organization and had fine year, hitting .318/.402/.507 for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox with 17 home runs and 91 runs scored. He primarily played second base. In a hitter-friendly league and park, he did finish among the top 10 in average, unlike infield mates Clint Barmes (.328) and Garrett Atkins (.366). Chris Burke was named the All-Star 2B in the Pacific Coast League. Almonte did play in the AAA All-Star Game, going 0 for 2 as Barmes' backup at shortstop. He had a shot at an extra-base hit but was robbed by Midre Cummings in the 8th inning.

Still just 26, Almonte had a fine campaign for the 2004-2005 Licey Tigers, hitting .325/?/.550. He led the Dominican League in both home runs (7) and RBI (38).

Moving to Japan for 2005, Almonte struggled with the Nippon Ham Fighters, only hitting .193/.330/.318 with 27 strikeouts in 88 AB. Makoto Kaneko reclaimed the SS role during the year.

In 2006 he played for the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League, hitting .302/?/.448 with 73 runs, 77 RBI and 16 steals. He tied Ryan Radmanovich and Reggie Taylor for 7th in the league in average. Jeff Nettles was picked as the All-Star third baseman ahead of Almonte.

In 2007, Almonte attended spring training camp for the Colorado Rockies until the final weeks. During this time he played four positions including first, second, third base, and shortstop. After being released by Colorado, Almonte was signed by the Detroit Tigers and assigned to their AA club, the Erie SeaWolves. He played in 50 games with them - and also in 38 games with the Toledo Mud Hens - hitting a combined .286 with 44 RBI in 88 games. He spent all of 2008 with the Mud Hens, hitting .258 with 10 home runs and 50 RBI.

Almonte was signed by the Milwaukee Brewers for the 2009 season and was assigned to their Triple-A team, the Nashville Sounds. In 105 games (only 277 plate appearances) with them that year, he hit .291 with 31 RBI. With Nashville again in 2010, Almonte hit .320 with 38 RBI in 110 games in his second year with the team.

He made the Brewers' Opening Day roster for 2011, appearing in the majors for the first time since 2003 when he pinch-hit for Mark Kotsay on March 31. On April 2, he hit his first big league home run in nearly a decade when he took Cincinnati Reds pitcher Travis Wood deep in the fifth inning of a 4-2 Brewers loss. On April 26th, he was struck in the face by a thrown ball during batting practice and became the first player to be subject to Major League Baseball's new concussion policy. He was placed on the 7-day disabled list, suffering from dizziness and loss of appetite. He was only authorized to resume physical activity on May 9th. He was only hitting .103 in 16 games at the time of the injury, and was moved to the regular disabled list when the after-effects of the concussions were deemed to be over. He never returned to the majors. He did hit .303/.380/.447 in 83 games for Nashville in 2011.

He was 5 for 22 with a double and 3 RBI for the Leones del Escogido in the 2012 Caribbean Series as their main third baseman. His big hit came in the 13th inning of a win over Venezuela, a two-run double off Francisco Butto. He slumped to .200/.286/.240 for Nashville in 2012, playing only 34 games. In 2013, he hit .188/.286/.225 in 22 contests for the Rieleros de Aguascalientes to wrap up his playing career. He hit 114 home runs and scored 707 runs, driving in 689 in 1,435 games in the minors. He hit only .233/.282/.331 with two homers, 18 runs and 14 RBI in 55 games in the majors and .193/.330/.318 with three home runs, 14 runs and 8 RBI in 34 games in Japan.

Sources include 1997-2007 Baseball Almanacs, Japan Baseball Daily by Gary Garland, MILB.com

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