The Angels tiny, super-utility prospect, Alexi Amarista, turns 23 today and is getting the best birthday gift a young baseball player can get. Amarista will be on the Angels Opening Day roster when they play the Royals Friday night. The birthday boy won’t be in the lineup and probably won’t get in the game but he can get a pretty nice steak with his Major League per diem instead of the ham sandwich he’d get at Triple-A. He’ll also have a front row seat to watch Albert Pujols debut in front of a sold out Angels Stadium crowd.
Amarista isn’t a hot prospect in baseball. Baseball America ranked him 19 in the Angels system and basically called him a poor man’s Maicer Izturis. Which I guess is fair. Amarista isn’t a switch hitter or quite as good defensively around the infield. But he’s from the 5’8 utility factory known as Venezuela.
Baseball Prospectus also picked up on the comp, calling Amarista “a wonderful replacement utility guy when Maicer Izturis’s contract runs out.” The PECOTA projection for his 2012 season isn’t quite so wonderful yet. In 250 plate appearances, PECOTA has him hitting .249/.283/.329 while playing some 2B and LF. Sure, it’s not pretty but it’s a marked improvement from his .154/.182/.250 in the SSS 56 plate appearances in 2011.
All that matters today, though, is that Amarista is on the Opening Day roster for his birthday. Happy Birthday, kid. Why yes, I will have another slice of Fudgie the Whale.