Adael Amador: Rockies 2022 Minor League Player Of The Year
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Low-A Fresno shortstop Adael Amador accomplished his two preseason goals: finish in the top 10 in batting in the California League and compile more walks than strikeouts.
A 19-year-old switch-hitter from the Dominican Republic, Amador ranked seventh in the league in batting. He hit .292/.415/.445 with 15 home runs, 26 stolen bases, 87 walks and 67 strikeouts. He scored a league-leading 100 runs as Fresno's leadoff hitter.
Rockies minor league hitting coordinator Darin Everson said: “He’s aggressive when he’s in the zone. He’s consistent. He understands who he is. And he stays in the strike zone as good as any young hitter that I’ve ever seen.”
While his plate discipline and selectivity are elite, Amador showed another distinctive offensive talent.
“I think his separator is he hits the ball hard so often,” Fresno hitting coach Nic Wilson said. “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.”
Amador’s play at shortstop was subpar early in the year. But he developed a routine and worked hard on his first step and his arm strength. His defense greatly improved during the season, and he’s very motivated to play shortstop.
Amador made seven starts at second base, which might ultimately be his position. That decision need not be made soon, considering Amador just completed his first run through a full-season league after signing in 2019.
His instincts and awareness, always advanced for his age, allowed Amador to bypass the Dominican Summer League and go the Arizona Complex League in 2021.
“He sees the game differently, almost through a coach’s eye,” Rockies assistant player development director Jess Stender said. “And it really stands out. He’s always thinking the game.”
— Low-A Fresno right fielder Yanquiel Fernandez set a single-season franchise record with 109 RBIs. The 19-year-old Fernandez finished the regular season hitting .284/.340/.507 in 112 games with 21 home runs. He led the California League in total bases (241) and tied for the league lead in hits (135).
— Catcher/first baseman Hunter Goodman combined for 35 home runs and 103 RBIs at Low-A Fresno, High-A Spokane and Double-A Hartford. Drafted in the fourth round last year out of Memphis, Goodman hit .291/.368/.592 in 73 games at Fresno with 22 homers. In 49 games at Spokane, he hit .315/.351/.589 with 12 homers. In eight games at Hartford, he was hitting .148/.233/.259 with one homer and one RBI.