Allen Lessels' On Baseball: Portland's Michael Almanzar is the Comeback Kid
No shock there. The lanky, young third baseman was on fire to start the season, his first in Double-A as he continued to rebuild the promising resume that had him signed for big money — the Red Sox inked him to a $1.5 million signing bonus in July of 2007 — out of the Dominican Republic at the age of 16.
He managed him in Single-A Greenville in 2008 and 2009 at ages 17 and 18. Almanzar spent parts of the each season in Greenville, playing at a level higher than most his age, after getting off to a fast start in the rookie Gulf Coast League.
“He was always playing at a level higher than his age suggested he should play at, but he’s always handled it,” Boles said. “Now, though, I think he’s comfortable with who he is and understands what type of player he can be and he will be. I think that’s important. You see a lot of trust in himself and a lot of confidence and I think that’s going to continue to grow.”
He had two hits in four straight games to open the season and reached base safely in his first nine games. He had two home runs in the fourth game of the year and had five through the first 20.
His numbers have dropped off some and he was still at a team-leading five home runs going into Wednesday night’s game against the Fisher Cats at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.
He likes the way things are going so far at a new level.
Boles and hitting coach Rich Gedman, who worked with Almanzar in Single-A Salem last year, like his approach.
He’s closed up his batting stance a bit from his early days and is showing more consistency with his strike zone management, Boles said.
“He’s still a young kid and there’s a lot of upside,” Boles said. “It’s a great frame to build off and I believe he’s going to get bigger and stronger and he’s very athletic. He’s an interesting player. There’s no doubt about it. If he was coming out of the draft this year where would he go? You’ve got to keep that in mind. He’s in Double-A right now. That’s pretty impressive.”