Prospect Spotlight: Adael Amador, SS, Colorado Rockies
The best prospects play shortstop, especially in their teens, if they can. Later, they get moved to other positions, as such, it is likely that not everyone on the list will stay at short. When deciding which prospect to write up for this Prospect Spotlight, it was hard to choose. I usually choose a player I know little about but, many, if not all, of the top-15 are known to us Dynasty players.
So, I chose the prospect that had the greatest difference between his high ranking and low ranking among our rankings experts for this year. Adael Amador, the Rockies 2022 Minor league player of the year, is that prospect. Ranked as high as 3rd but as low as 24th, there is obviously some derision amongst our experts on his current and future value to your Dynasty teams. Let’s dive in and see if he was rated too highly, too lowly, or just right.
Born in Santiago de los Caballeros, the second largest city in the Dominican Republic, on April 11th, 2003, Amador was signed for $1.5 million in July of 2019. Scouting reports at the time saw his ceiling as an MLB regular at second base, possibly shortstop, with a future grade of 40+, with power being his main negative. As a 6’0” 160-pound switch hitter, Amador was ranked anywhere from 11th to 20th overall prospect in the Rockies system. A young, international, player who was very, very far away from the majors when he signed at only 16-years-old.
Amador was unable to play professionally during the 2020 season, as many, many prospects were, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, so, did not play in a professional league until 2021, where he played 47 games at the Arizona Complex League. He held his own there, slashing .299/.394/.445 with four home runs and ten steals, while showcasing excellent plate discipline with a walk rate of 14% and a strikeout rate of 14.5%.
After the season, he moved up on some of the Rockies lists, but no where near sniffing a top-100 prospect list (of the 13 top prospect lists I tracked last off-season, Amador was only found on four, with a high ranking of 181 and low ranking of 204). Most saw Amador as a utility infielder with a bit of speed, a decent average, and above-average defense, with a future value of 40+ still…kinda bleh, to be fair. Then, 2022 happened.
Breakout – 2022 style
Amador found himself playing for the Single-A Fresno Grizzles in the California League, and he simply balled out in 2022, making the Cal League Post-Season All-Star team and winning the aforementioned Rockies minor league player of the year award. In his age 19 season (two years younger than the average age at Single-A), he slashed .292/.415/.445 with 15 homers, 26 steals, and 24 doubles. Why he will make top-100 lists this off-season? It’s the elite plate discipline, where Amador walked more than he struck out (87:67) good for a 16% walk rate and only 12% K rate. Let’s read what Fresno hitting coach Nic Wilson had to say about the young hitter:
“I think his separator is he hits the ball hard so often. The guy does a really good job of squaring the baseball up, and I think that allows him to be a guy who hits for average. “He’s not hitting dink and donks into the outfield to put together this kind of season. The guy’s driving the ball out of the yard. He’s hitting doubles. The ball is consistently being driven off his bat.”
Going forward, Amador appears to be a second baseman. He is on the Shortstop list because he played 108 games at shortstop in 2022, while also making seven starts at second base. His defense improved at short during 2022, but fellow shortstop prospect Ezequiel Tovar (ranked 4th on our list) should lay claim to the Rockies shortstop position for the foreseeable future.
As of now, a future mlb slash line of .280/.350/.450 and 20/10 on the homers/steals front seems very doable. That would put him in the top-10 at second base, with room to improve. Amador is still a few seasons away from making his big league debut, but if he can have a similar season in Double-A this season it will be sooner rather than later we will find him in the Mile High City.
This is a fun at-bat to watch, as he misses on a high fastball, then on the next pitch hits a laser right through the middle.