|by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com|
(4/29/13) Red Sox third base prospect Michael Almanzar has had a slow progression through the minors since his much-anticipated signing as a 16-year-old prospect in 2007. However, after years of struggling, the 22-year-old infielder is finally blossoming in the minors.
After arriving stateside at 17 years old in 2008, the Red Sox tried to rush Almanzar through the minors, but the results were disastrous.
"You saw the offensive potential, but there was a lot of immaturity at that point, being 17 years old with all of the attention he was getting, I think at the time, the pressure got to him just a little bit, which is understandable," said Kevin Boles, who managed Almanzar at Class A Greenville in 2008 and 2009 and is now reunited with him in Double-A Portland, per WEEI.com. "It happens with a lot of young players."
Though, it finally started to click for Almanzar in 2012 at high Class A Salem. He hit .300 with a .353 on-base percentage and .812 OPS. He's carried that success over into the start of 2013 for Portland. Through 21 games, he has a slash line of .322/.372/.575/.947, while adding five home runs, seven doubles and 17 RBI.
"He's reworked his swing. People that say he’s the same guy -- no. His approach has changed," Boles said. "He’s a guy that had an open stance, a lot of movement, a lot of upper half movement, and then he would close in on the ball, go from an open stance to a closed stride. Now he’s squared up to the pitcher. He’s got a lot more rhythm at the plate. And it’s a quiet rhythm and a quiet confidence. He is really impacting the ball to right field now, using all the fields."