The New York Yankees originally signed shortstop Abiatal Avelino out of the Dominican Republic on December 26, 2011 for just $300,000 at 16 years old. The young prospect got his first taste of the pros in 2012 when he played for the Dominican Summer League Yankees where he hit .302 with 11 doubles in 222 at bats.
Avelino came over to the United States in 2013, making his American debut with the Gulf Coast Yankees where he hit a combined .336 between both GCL teams before earning a late season promotion to the Staten Island Yankees. In 17 games with Staten Island he hit just .243 but showed flashes of brilliance with his glove in the field.
Abiatal was sent to the South Atlantic League in 2014 where he was to split shortstop duties with fellow prospect Tyler Wade. However a quad injury in May forced him to miss a significant amount of time. Before his injury Avelino was hitting .294 with 9 doubles in 119 at bats. However after he returned in July he hit just .158 for the rest of the season which caused his final batting average of the season to fall to .232.
Avelino is a natural athlete. He is an above-average runner with good base running instincts and defensively he ranks among the best defenders at his position in the organization. He has shown good range at short and the skill to remain at the position going forward. Watch his hands, footwork and above-average arm while in the field and you can see he could develop into a major league shortstop.
At the plate Avelino has a hitting approach that is mature beyond his age. He has the ability to use the whole field and is discipline enough not to expand the strike zone and swing at bad pitches outside. The one thing he lacks is power and it is unsure if he will develop much more as he matures.
Expect to see Abiatal Avelino return to the South Atlantic League in 2015 to be the regular shortstop for the RiverDogs.
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