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The Road to The Show™: Rockies’ Amador

No. 21 prospect can stay on fast track with clean bill of health
Adael Amador was promoted to Double-A Hartford after recovering from surgery to repair a broken hamate bone. (Kevin Pataky/
September 12, 2023

Each week, profiles an elite prospect by chronicling the steps he's taken toward achieving his Major League dream. Here's a look at top Rockies’ prospect Adael Amador. For more stories about players on The Road to The Show, click here.

Each week, profiles an elite prospect by chronicling the steps he's taken toward achieving his Major League dream. Here's a look at top Rockies’ prospect Adael Amador. For more stories about players on The Road to The Show, click here.

A clean bill of health might be the only thing standing between Adael Amador and the fast track to the big leagues.

The 20-year-old ranks as the Rockies' top prospect despite missing seven weeks of the season due to surgery to repair the hamate bone of his right hand in early July.

That's how good Amador has been -- when he's on the field.

It's been a rocky season for MLB Pipeline's No. 21 overall prospect. In addition to the time he missed from surgery, he opened the season in extended Spring Training in order to recover from a different injury and also spent the first week of September on the injured list for Double-A Hartford. But he's since returned to the Yard Goats' lineup and looks to finish the final week of the regular season on a high note.

The switch-hitting infielder made his season debut with High-A Spokane on April 18 and immediately made an impact as he opened the year hitting safely in 11 of his first 12 games and 18 of his first 20. Amador posted a .306/.398/.528 slash line in May and only continued to improve as the calendar turned to June.

“The first thing that really sticks out is the guy really walks a lot,” Rockies Minor League hitting coordinator Nic Wilson told in June. “And he hits the ball really hard. He’s growing in terms of approach. You’re starting to see a hitter who understands situations and is starting to become a winning baseball player.

“You hear him talking in the dugout, and he’s talking to teammates about things to impact the game in order to win. That’s a really big step he has taken.”

Across 259 plate appearances with Spokane before his hamate injury, Amador maintained a .302 average and .514 slugging percentage while striking out at just a 10 percent clip. He also notched a career milestone, mashing a trifecta on May 20.

Signed out of Santiago, Dominican Republic, for $1.5 million in the 2019-20 international class, Amador was the 15th-highest ranked player in that class. He did not make his pro debut until late in 2021 because of the pandemic. But, after looking comfortable over 47 games in the Rookie-level Arizona Complex League, Amador made his full-season debut at the start of last year for Single-A Fresno, just days before his 19th birthday.

Despite being one of the youngest players at the level, Amador broke out in a big way. In addition to batting .292/.415/.445 with 15 home runs, 24 doubles, 100 runs scored, 57 RBIs and 26 stolen bases for the Grizzlies, he also displayed an advanced strike zone awareness. Amador posted one of the best walk-strikeout ratios (1.299) in the Minors -- pacing the California League. He finished with 87 walks (16 percent) against 67 strikeouts (12 percent) in 555 plate appearances. He also played 108 of his 115 games at shortstop, where he sported a .945 fielding percentage.

Entering 2023, Amador still felt like there was room for improvement. So after he finished the 2022 season at 190 pounds, he entered this year with a focus on bulking up. He's currently listed as 200 pounds.

“It’s more about the weight room, because the approach is the same,” Amador said in Spanish, with teammate Bryant Quijada interpreting. “I felt like before my lower body didn’t have too much power. So, I worked hard in the offseason.”

The gains were immediately evident as Amador posted the best slugging percentage of his career (.514) before being sidelined. Even after missing all that time, the Rockies opted to promote Amador to Double-A after the completion of a five-game rehab assignment in the ACL on Aug. 26. In six games with the Yard Goats since, he's compiled four knocks -- including his first long ball at the level.

The Rockies system has been plagued by injuries all season. Zac Veen, who opened the year as the club's top prospect, had his season cut short in June after undergoing surgery on a tendon in his left wrist. Three of the team’s top four pitching prospects -- Gabriel Hughes, Jordy Vargas and Jackson Cox -- underwent Tommy John surgery after the All-Star break.

But Amador is back on the field, and there are opportunities in winter ball or the Arizona Fall League for the switch-hitting shortstop to make up for lost time. Either way, his advanced skills at the plate could still put him on the fast track to the Mile High City.

Rob Terranova is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @RobTnova24.