The Orioles selected 3B Michael Almanzar out of the Red Sox organization in the Rule 5 Draft today.
Almanzar, 23, spent the entire 2013 season at AA Portland for the Red Sox – posting a .268/.328/.432 batting line with 29 doubles and 16 homeruns in 561 plate appearances.
He is an interesting choice for the Orioles, as he is not highly athletic and probably will be relegated to 3b/1B/DH roles in the majors. He has a big,long swing that has some power in it. Almanzar can really flash some excitement with the bat at times, but it should be noted that he was a slow mover through the minors and had plate discipline troubles at times.
Almanzar is most likely a backup plan in case the Orioles cannot pick up another hitter that handles left-handing pitching well. He also could serve as a potential insurance in case Manny Machado is not quite ready for the start of the season.
SoxProspects.com has a full scouting report on Almanzar, which I recommend reading:
Tall, lanky third baseman. Signed at the age of 16, but hadn’t played much organized ball beforehand. Extremely raw tools upon entering the Red Sox system. In his early years as a pro, he hit mostly off his front foot with open hips – a pure guess hitter. But he also showed plus plus batting practice power, launching long home runs with ease. He also regulalarly repeated his mistakes and demonstrated a questionable work ethic for several years. Progress was slow after reaching full-season baseball, but has made advancements in recent years. Has shown improved swing control that has allowed him to make more contact. Still struggles with high velocity fastballs, especially on the inner half. His swing is on the longer side and he over-extends his arms. Pitch recognition has also improved, but he still gets caught out front too often. Still has a plus power ceiling. On defense, he has a limited profile, with below-average athleticism, choppy footwork, limited range, and abillity to lose focus and make lazy errors. Plus arm with below-average accuracy. He”s looked uncofortable at first base when give opportunites. If he makes it in the majors, he’ll need to continue to prove his dedication. Even then, it may be as a designated hitter.
The Orioles have found two Rule 5 selections that have been able to stay on the roster in T.J. Mcfarland and Ryan Flaherty. Maybe Almanzar will be number three.