Almonte Knows He Can Do Better

Almonte knows he has something to prove in '09

Abraham Almonte had a tale of two halves for the Charleston Riverdogs this season. He was hitting .291 as late as June 7th, but quickly fell victim to his first taste of the long-season leagues and batted a disastrous .111 in the month of July, en route to a final .228 average. It certainly wasn't the way he drew it up before the season began and he knows he can do a lot better in 2009.

"I feel a little bit tired at the end of all this and it was an up and down season, and it was more difficult than I thought, but I'm okay," Abraham Almonte said through the help of a translator.

"I actually thought I would be more tired than I am and I thought it would be more difficult than it was. I want to keep playing even though it's over - I want to play more."

Possessing all the physical tools to be a big difference-maker and certainly proving that in the early going, the 19-year-old had to make some big adjustments to right the proverbial ship down the stretch.

"I think it was the one I am making right now," said Almonte, who hit .240 in August. "I was a little bit soggy after the All-Star break so I'm working on my balance and just now I'm trying to make it work for next season."

He was the victim of some bad luck during his lackluster July, hitting some hard-liners right at people, but he also found himself rolling over a bit too frequently.

Almonte was still putting together some quality at-bats, however, drawing a monthly season-high 19 walks, but it was quite evident he was simply tiring during the dog days of summer and nowhere was it more evident than on the base paths.

"Stealing bases is a big focus," said Almonte, who stole just eleven bases over the final two months. "I think my overall speed is good, but timing my jump toward second base is what I need to work on. It's all about timing that move to second base."

A first year centerfielder this past season, he would also like to improve on his consistency in the outfield and he has already sets his sights on focusing all of his attention for a rebound season in 2009.

"I think I can definitely play at the next level or whatever level they want me to," he said emphatically. "This season was not good for what I can do, and what I can show to the team. I know I can do better than that."

Getting set for more work in the Instructional League this offseason, Almonte says he will be playing with a bit of a chip on his shoulder and he's out to show everybody he's a lot better than his 2008 numbers indicate.

"I always think I need to prove something and I know I could have had a better year," he opined. "But even if you have a good year, you always want to prove you can do better. I know I need to prove I can do better than I did this year."

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