The Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen has been one of the best in baseball this season, and Yency Almonte was among the key contributors prior to going on the 15-day injured list in early August due to right elbow inflammation.
Almonte was one of the several pitchers the Dodgers signed to a Minor League contract during the offseason and Spring Training, and he immediately impressed by throwing seven scoreless innings in Cactus League play.
After beginning the 2022 season with Triple-A Oklahoma City, the Dodgers promoted Almonte in May, and he made the most of opportunities.
The 28-year-old has posted a 1.15 ERA and 0.89 WHIP through 29 appearances this season. Almonte also recorded a save against the Colorado Rockies on the Fourth of July.
Dodgers pitching coach Mark Prior offered high praise for Almonte and believes he is an indispensable member of the bullpen, via Nick Groke and Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic:
“He’s an invaluable kind of Swiss army knife guy that every bullpen needs,” Dodgers pitching coach Mark Prior said.
Almonte was selected out of high school by the L.A. Angels in the 17th round of the 2012 MLB Draft. He made his MLB debut with the Rockies in 2018, though only appeared in 14 games.
Almonte struggled the following year before bouncing back in 2020 by going 3-0 with one save and a 2.93 ERA over 24 games.
The Dodgers are hopeful to activate Almonte off the IL during this week’s series against the San Diego Padres. He appeared in two games while on rehab assignment with Oklahoma City.
Giants’ McGee advised Almonte to sign with Dodgers
Almonte drew interest from several teams in free agency, but he ultimately signed with the Dodgers, partly due to the advice of former Rockies teammate and current San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Jake McGee.
Almonte and McGee were part of the Rockies organization together from 2017-19. After a disappointing four-year stint with Colorado, the Dodgers signed McGee to a one-year contract prior to the 2020 season.
The change of scenery was beneficial as the left-hander went 3-1 with a 2.66 ERA, 1.67 FIP, 0.84 WHIP and 14.6 strikeouts per nine in 24 appearances en route to helping L.A. win the World Series.
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