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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, May 10, 2018 6:00 pm

TinCaps add Luis Almanzar, another Top 30 prospect

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

Prior to Thursday's game against the Kane County Cougars, the TinCaps made a roster move, adding infielder Luis Almanzar to their roster from extended spring training. Almanzar is the No. 26 prospect in the Padres organization, per, and will become the eighth TinCap among the Top 30 in the San Diego system.

Almanzar is another young player, having turned 18 in November. He adds to the TinCaps' teenage contingent, which consists of nine players in a league that has an average age of close to 22. With Justin Lopez turning 18 on Wednesday, Fort Wayne now has five players at that age, the five youngest players in the entire league.

Almanzar was one of the top international prospects in the 2016-17 international signing class and the Padres gave him a $4 million bonus when he was 16. He's played third and short in the minors, with plenty of arm for either one, but seems destined to end up as a third baseman as he gets older. 

He didn't hit particularly well at short-season Tri-City last year, but he was 17 at the time and again one of the youngest players in the league. He finished the campaign hitting .230 with a .299 OBP and two home runs. He did steal 10 bases, suggesting he has the speed to be a factor on an aggressive TinCaps team.

In order to make room for Almanzar, Reinaldo Ilarraza was sent to extended spring training. The 19-year-old spent all of 2017 with Fort Wayne, scoring 58 runs and hitting .229, but has struggled with the glove this season. Ilarraza has repeatedly thrown balls away at third base and has committed 10 errors already in just 28 games. He's been much better at second (just two of his errors have been committed there), but the TinCaps middle infield is already packed with talented players and he'd struggle to get on the field there.

Some time at extended spring training might be the best remedy for Ilarraza, as he can work on his throwing mechanics in a lower-pressure environment. He should be back with the TinCaps before the season is done.