Almonte has had an up and down career so far with the Royals, mainly bouncing around the levels of the farm system. Almonte managed to climb all the way to being a top 50 prospect in MLB prior to the 2014 season. After struggling the next 3 seasons over various stops including Kansas City, he was demoted back to AAA and then AA.
He began 2017 at the AA level, and has seemingly found some footing to build on. He has a 1.86 ERA and has managed to strike out nearly 11 batters per 9 innings through 29 innings of work. One of the weaknesses that has plagued Almonte throughout his career has been walks, but he has managed to lower his walks per nine below 2 so far this season.
In 2015, he pitched in 8.2 innings with the big league club but was battered around to the tune of a 6.23 ERA and had 7 walks in those 8 short innings.
It will be interesting to see how his success at AA will translate to competing once again at the major league level. With a mid to upper 90's fastball, he has the ability to be successful should his command issues truly be behind him. Being just 24 years old, should he manage to "find himself" he could become a valuable part of the Royals rotation or backend bullpen arm for years to come.
Almonte replaces starter Nathan Karns who was placed on the 10 day disabled list with forearm tightness that occurred during his last start, causing him to be pulled early.
This will represent the first start Almonte has made at the major league level, his previous appearances were as a reliever.
Alex Gordon will also be returning from 3 day paternity leave after the birth of his daughter Joey.
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