At only 5-foot-11 and 160-pounds, Aramis Ademan appears almost cartoonish when among his South Bend teammates. Resembling a ballboy more than a Top Twenty prospect, Ademan even appeared dwarfed by his interpreter, the similarly sized Alberto Mineo, due to his youthful mien. The fact that he was days away from his nineteenth birthday may something to do with that.
Ademan was part of big 2015 international signing class that included fellow infielders Christopher Morel, Orian Nunez, Yonathan Perlaza; outfielders Jose Gutierrez, Fernando Kelli, Kwang-Min Kwon, Eddy Julio Martinez, Jonathan Sierra; catcher Miguel Amaya; and pitchers Jose Albertos, Javier Assad, Faustino Carrera, Brailyn Marquez, and Carlos Ocampo. However, Ademan has exceeded expectations from the beginning. Only 17 years old when the season started in 2016, the whippet-thin Ademan was able to sustain himself for 59 games of steamy Dominican Summer League. At nearly one and a half years younger than the league average, the left-handed hitter batted .254/.366/.316/.682 with five doubles, four triples, 16 RBI and had 17 stolen bases. The most impressive mark was his 34 walks compared to only 28 strikeouts.
While it was an above average debut, it seemed that at his age, Ademan would return to the DSL in 2017. The youngster was also looking at some impressive talent ahead of him at shortstop in Vimael Machin, Andruw Monasterio, Isaac Paredes, and Zack Short at the Low-A level. But the Cubs’ front office liked what they saw of Ademan in spring training. At the end of camp, Ademan was retained in extended spring training rather than returning to the Dominican Republic. It still seemed as if a place on the AZL Cubs roster in the rookie league was in the cards for Ademan, so it was a surprise when player development announced that the 18 year old would open the season with Short Season-A Eugene.
When Ademan began the year batting only .224 in 14 June games, it appeared as if the Cubs had made a mistake and put too much on the youngster. To make matters worse, 20 year old infielder Delvin Zinn, the Cubs’ twenty-third round pick in 2017, had gotten off to a .346 start in the rookie league. But the Cubs remained patient with Ademan, and he responded by going .320 with two home runs, 18 RBI, and seven stolen bases in the month of July. In speaking with Ademan a few weeks ago, he credited Minor League hitting Coordinator Any Haines and the AZL Cubs Hitting Coach Osmin Melendez with his improved approach.
Coming on the heels of his hot streak with the Emeralds, Ademan was promoted to Low-A South Bend in the beginning of August, where he impressed several observers. “He doesn’t play 18” said play-by-play man Darin Pritchett. “(Ademan) is handling this level well. He is still pretty raw, but you see flashes.” Assistant Coach and Interim Manager Jonathan Mota agreed. “(Ademan) is an awesome kid, he is eager to try and find ways to make adjustments. He works hard both in the field and at the plate.”
But the Midwest League wasn’t as charitable to Ademan as the Northwest League, with the 18 year old seeing his batting average plummet to .244, although he hit three home runs and drove in 15 in 29 games. For the season, Ademan was .267/.324/.427/.751 with 15 doubles, five triples, seven home runs, 42 RBI, and 14 stolen bases in 68 games. While the improvement in his power numbers was notable, his overall performance was probably not good enough to see a promotion to Advanced-A Myrtle Beach to begin the 2018 season.
Where Ademan seems to need more polish is in the field. While Ademan has smooth actions at shortstop, they have not translated to result as of yet. The .946 fielding average Ademan posted for Eugene along with a .944 average for South Bend are considered only adequate. Ademan himself recognized the need to step up his game. “I want to try to be more mentally tough” said Ademan through Mineo. “It will be a long season next year, and I want to be prepared and ready before anything happens.”
Whether at South Bend or some other juncture, it appears that Ademan has adopted an appropriate attitude to keep the “A’s” coming.
Tags: Alberto Mineo, and Zack Short, Andruw Monasterio, Aramis Ademan, Brailyn Marquez, Carlos Ocampo, Christopher Morel, Darin Pritchett, Delvin Zinn, Eddy Julio Martinez, Faustino Carrera, Fernando Kelli, Isaac Paredes, Javier Assad, Jonathan Mota, Jonathan Sierra, Jose Albertos, Jose Gutierrez, Kwang-Min Kwon, Miguel Amaya, Orian Nunez, Tom U, Vimael Machin, Yonathan Perlaza