Falcons swoop to capture pitcher Almanzar from Essex Arrows

Robbie Almanzar (left) tries to get to first base in the 2013 National Championship semi-final. Picture (c) Richard Lee
Robbie Almanzar (left) tries to get to first base in the 2013 National Championship semi-final. Picture (c) Richard Lee

The Herts Falcons have announced the signing of left-handed pitcher Robbie Almanzar.

Originally hailing from the Dominican Republic, Almanzar is entering his fourth season in the National Baseball League, having spent the 2012 and 2013 seasons with the Harlow Nationals followed by a brief spell with the Essex Arrows last year.

In his NBL debut season he burst onto the scene by scooping the Most Valuable Pitcher award. Herts fans remember Almanzar well after he broke their hearts in game six of the National Baseball League Championship final, and he added to the Falcons’ misery a year later when the two teams met again in the playoff semi-finals.

The game finished 9-8 with Almanzar once again pitching a complete game to claim the win.

Although NBL fans mostly recognise him for his pitching achievements, Almanzar has impressive batting stats with acareer batting average of .281 and a slugging average of .378, including one home run, which was a grand slam against the Essex Redbacks in May 2013.

This news is a major boost for Herts ahead of the new season. With 2014 NBL Most Valuable Batter and Most valuable Pitcher Abel Salas, making the move to the USA, the Falcons were desperate to add to their roster.

The additions of Great Britain national team third-baseman Maikel Azcuy and Almanzar are two major acquisitions which have put the team straight back in the NBL race.

Falcons fans are expected to see both new signings make their Spring Training debuts when the Herts Spring League commences later this month.