The list for the top-30 International players has been released and the San Diego Padres are linked to many young players. Number three on the list of top-30 is a 16-year-old shortstop from the Dominican Republic named Luis Almanzar. The young man has interesting skills and has a very high ceiling, but he is still only a teenager.
The Padres are likely going to make a splash on the International market come July 2nd, and Almanzar could be one of many players the team signs. For years and years the Padres have failed to cultivate young latin players. The team has been lagging behind other franchises on this aspect of the game and it seems they finally plan to address that issue.
Almanzar has a fluid right-handed swing. It has a slight upper cut to it and that dictates that he will eventually hit for some power. He is six-foot and 175 lbs, but you have to figure he will grow in the next few years. His swing is solid currently and he has the ability to use all fields. His strength is developing but you really shouldn’t expect too much at his young age. Take a look at some of these hacks and you will see the kid has a smooth stroke.
A.J. Preller has a background in scouting, especially in the Latin American markets. With that you can be sure he has done all the proper homework on this young man. At 16, he is no sure thing though. He must show the proper maturity to grow and develop in another country. Not an easy task by any means. Could you imagine yourself going to play professional baseball in another country at the age of 16?
The Padres will have to mentor this young man and players of that age if they plan on drafting them. The team already struck gold in some aspect as Luis Urias, at the age of 19 is already in High-A ball and performing well. Urias is hitting .323 through his first 73 games. Urias was drafted when he was 16 from Mexico, but has a great maturity about him. Almanzar must demonstrate those traits if the team is going to seriously make a run at him.
Padres scouts have surely watched many different videos on this young man. I chose this video to show you because it shows many different angles of his skill. On the field Almanzar looks as though he has a strong arm. He circles the ball well and gets rid of it quickly. To me he shuffles a little too much with his feet, but he is still extremely young. He could be moved out of the position eventually. Especially if he continues to grow and get bigger. With more power, a move to third base could be in his future.
Swinging the bat again, Almanzar shows great plate coverage. He goes well to right and seems very poised and calm at the plate. It is tough to say what he will truly be in the major leagues, but this young man has a great upside. The Padres are reportedly very interested, so we will see what that means. There are other young shortstops available, so they may go in a different route. Only time will tell what A.J. Preller and the Friars do.