The Tacoma Rainiers start Hector Noesi (3-2, 6-75 ERA) in the fourth of five games in this home series against the Colorado Springs Sky Sox.
With both Scott Savastano (torso strain) and Rich Poythress (left knee) going to the disabled list, the Rainiers post an even further depleted lineup. The most recognizable names in for tonight’s game are Carlos Peguero in right and Carlos Triunfel at shortstop.
But there is another you should get to know – Abraham Almonte.
Almonte started the season in Double-A Jackson, but since then has been one of the most stable players on the team and arguably the most reliable.
He leads the team with a .298 batting average with a team-best .844 OPS (on-base + slugging) and a team-best 16 stolen bases.
Almonte has shown a bit of everything at the plate – speed, hits for power (trailing only Peguero with a .454 slugging percentage), hits for average and has gunned down plenty of runners from his spot in center field, despite having shoulder surgery on his throwing arm three years ago and said he wasn't sure if he'd even be able to throw with any sort of velocity again.
Almonte came to the Mariners organization from the New York Yankees in February for reliever Shawn Kelley and is as deserving as anyone on the Rainiers of a September call-up.
“I hope it happens this year,” Almonte said of a potential promotion. “But if I don’t see it his year, I’m going to keep working hard.”
He’s not on the Mariners 40-man roster, but that doesn’t mean the organization couldn’t make room if they felt he could be a beneficial addition.
He has flown under the radar for the most part because of the Rainiers bounty of young, eye-catching talent with most of the Mariners top prospects seeing time throughout the year. Almonte has kind of been overshadowed by names such as Mike Zunino, Taijuan Walker, Nick Franklin, Brad Miller, Dustin Ackley and such, even though his 6-for-6 game against Colorado Springs, the time he hit for the cycle against Chattanooga, and when he gunned down two runners at third base in one game a couple weeks ago are just as big as any of their Triple-A moments.
“Like my agent said, just try to be the ‘Wow’ everyday,” Almonte said. “I try to do something where people say ‘Wow.’ It doesn’t need to be a base hit or a nice catch, it can just be playing aggressive no matter if you hit a ground ball to the pitcher. Just run hard and play the game.”
The Rainiers added Ji-Man Choi from Double-A Jackson on Monday. The first baseman will bat sixth tonight in his first Triple-A action. The rap on the South Korean is he brings offense. He hit .302 with 34 doubles, six triples and 16 home runs with 79 RBI between Jackson and Class-A Advanced High Desert. The move was made to accommodate Poythress and Savastano heading to the DL.
Choi and Walker represented the Mariners in the MLB All-Star Futures Game on July 14. Choi was an add-on for the World team and Walker threw for the U.S.