Last month the Astros claimed infielder Jake Elmore off waivers from the Arizona Diamondbacks. The 25-year old made his big league debut last season, appearing in 30 games for the D-Backs. An outstanding season at AAA Reno (.344/.442/.465) earned Elmore the late season call up. Elmore didn’t produce the same kind of numbers in Arizona and the D-Backs decided to place him on waivers. Their loss could prove to be a big gain for the Astros.
Elmore was drafted in the 48th round by the Marlins in 2007 but didn’t sign. He then transferred from a junior college in his home state of Alabama to Arizona State University and was drafted by the D-Backs the following year. Elmore adapted quickly to pro ball, hitting .296/.390/.464 in 53 rookie league games in ’08.
Jake saw his average drop over the next two seasons as he advanced through the D-Backs’ minor league system, but he still managed to maintain a high on-base percentage. A patient hitter who rarely strikes out, Elmore has an impressive total of 273 walks to 266 strikeouts in his minor league career.
Last season, his first at the AAA level, Elmore swiped a career high 32 bases. He was caught eight times, resulting in a career best 80% success rate. Jake had only one homer at Reno, but 30 doubles and nine triples would suggest he has good gap power. Elmore also led the Aces with 74 walks and was second on the team with 95 runs scored.
After being called up to the bigs, Elmore played 17 games at shortstop and five at second base. The Diamondbacks must have determined he doesn’t have what it takes to be a big league shortstop, choosing to keep Willie Bloomquist to back up the recently acquired Cliff Pennington. We’ll just have to wait and see how that turns out for them. I think his minor league numbers are quite encouraging.
The 5 foot 10 inch, 180 pound Elmore will go to Spring Training in Kissimmee trying to earn a spot on the Astros roster. I think he has an excellent chance of breaking camp as the primary backup for Jose Altuve and Jed Lowrie. I love his strikeout-to-walk ratio and view him as possibly a Jeff Keppinger type of player.