Found October 04, 2013 on Obstructed View OLD:
Albert Almora is a right-handed center fielder, and just finished his age 19 season. He stands 6'2-180. He came to the Cubs as the first round pick in the 2012 draft. Taken sixth overall, Almora signed for an overslot $3.9 million to pry him away from a commitment to the University of Miami. Soon thereafter, he was sent to the AZL to begin his pro career. Almora played in 33 games between the AZL and Northwest League in 2012, and hit like a man posessed, posting an overall line of .321/.331/.464 for the year. He spent the offseason reading rave reviews about himself, ranked in the top 3 across every major organizational top ten list (including taking the top spot in B-Pro's evaluation) and landing as a universal top-50 in the national lists. We'll get to the scouting reports below, but evaluators would consistently rave about his spectacular baseball instincts and makeup, his dedication, work ethic, and leadership qualities all projecting to make his slate of average-to-plus tools play up. BA's Jim Callis and Baseball Prospectus' Jason Parks would both comment throughout the season that, going into 2013, Almora was the safest bet among Cubs prospects to be a solid contributor at the major league level. Albert was sent to Kane County to start the season, with the anticipation that he would race through the system. Performance The season got off to an ominous start for Almora, who broke a hamate bone in his wrist in spring training and would subsequently not arrive in Kane County until May 22nd, missing the first month and a half of the year. He would quickly make up for lost time, however, turning in a blistering .404/.434/.543 line in 22 games before the All-Star Break. He would begin August with a .329/.376/.466 season line. The injury bug would bite Albert once more in 2013, though, as a bone bruise in his groin ended his season 3 games into August. Between his groin and wrist injuries, Almora would be on the field for only 61 games in his full-season debut, a dominant player in the midwest league when on the field, but dinged up frequently enough to begin whispers about durability.  Scouting As with all of the top prospects, plenty of scouting information available out there. Here's Baseball America's blurb from this year's Prospect Handbook, which ranked Almora as the system's #2 prospect: Scouts say Almora has more polish and better makeup than any high schooler in recent memory. His tools are solid or better across the board too, so the Cubs selected him sixth overall in June and signed him for $3.9 million. It was no surprise that he was able to make an easy transition to pro ball, hitting .321/.331/.464 at the two lowest levels of the system. Thanks to his bat speed, loose swing and hand-eye coordination, Almora makes line-drive contact with ease. He has natural hitting rhythm and pitch-recognition skills beyond his years. He will need to develop more patience, however, after walking just twice in 145 pro plate appearances. He's not the most physical player, but he has the hitting acumen and projection to grow into annual 20-homer power. As gifted as he is offensively, scouts rave even more about Almora's defense. He has incredible instincts, allowing his average speed to play up a grade on the bases and well above that in center field. He gets outstanding jumps and takes precise routes. He also has a strong, accurate arm. A quality teammate, he has helped Cuban defector Jorge Soler with his English. Almora profiles as a Gold Glove center fielder who could hit third in the batting order. He'll be part of a very talented lineup at Chicago's new low Class A Kane County affiliate in 2013, and he might only need two years in the minors. Baseball Prospectus was even higher on Almora, ranking him above even Baez: Strengths: Well-rounded tool collection; feel for the game is outstanding and allows tools to play above grade; 5 arm; 5 run; 6 glove; future hit could be easy 6; excellent bat speed; gets into zone quickly and efficiently; power has above-average potential; shows advanced game skills; lauded for work ethic/makeup; now talent that could move fast. Weaknesses: Range in CF is tied to read/react skills and instincts, not plus raw speed; lacks high-end physicality; lacks elite tools; upside isn’t as sexy as teammate Javier Baez; aggressive approach has yet to be tested; small professional sample Overall Future Potential: 6; first-division starter Explanation of Risk: Moderate risk; more polished than the average teenager; shows advanced feel and instincts for the game; high floor; respectable ceiling; most likely falls short of star status. The Year Ahead: Almora will most likely jump to full-season ball, where he will play the majority of the year as a 19-year-old. The highly praised hit tool will be tested by more advanced pitching, and the aggressive approach will need to refine to avoid exploitation. With now skills and advanced feel, Almora should continue to progress up the prospect ranks, and has a chance to emerge as a top tier player in the minors if the solid-average skill-set plays up beyond its projection. Major league ETA: 2016 There was also one other interesting thing I found while poking around the B-Pro preseason scouting articles, a line from Jason Parks about Almora's defense: Not sure if the profile in CF looks in three-five years, and I'm not sure the bat is all that sexy in a corner, so I don't think he's a slam-dunk first-division guy at the highest level. This was really interesting to me, as it's the first time anywhere I've seen doubts about Almora's ability to stick in center, or his ability to be a first-division MLB player. Upon seeing that, however, I'm a bit surprised we don't hear more doubts of this sort. Almora is not a speed demon, and, as already mentioned, relies heavily on his tremendous instincts to get to balls (a B-Pro Eyewitness Report by Nick Faleris on Almora said at one point that his "physical tools should not allow him to get to the balls he reaches"). Losing half a step could potentially drop him from a gold-glove caliber defender to merely solid; losing more could raise even more questions about his ability to stick at the position.    Outlook It was announced about a week ago that Almora was getting elevated to the full-time AFL roster instead of being relegated to weekend play on the taxi squad. That should prove a nice challenge for him, facing older competition and some of the best prospects in the game. 2014 should see Albert start the year in Daytona, with a focus on staying healthy for a full season and getting ~120 or so games worth of PAs under his belt. If he can avoid the nicks and dings that kept him off the field for so much of 2013, there's no reason why he shouldn't be in Tennessee by mid-season, as I don't personally expect the FSL to pose much of a challenge for him. That would put him on track for a 2015 major league arrival, where hopefully at least one of the Baez/Bryant/Soler group will already have established themselves as a productive talent and allow Almora's bat some breathing room to develop.  2013 Cubs Prospect Reviews Matt Szczur Trevor Clifton Trey Masek Logan Watkins Willson Contreras Corey Black Yoanner Negrin Tyler Alamo Marco Hernandez Shawon Dunston, Jr. Ben Wells Brett Jackson Armando Rivera CJ Edwards Dillon Maples Duane Underwood Zack Godley Justin Grimm Arodys Vizcaino Zeke DeVoss Jae-Hoon Ha Ivan Pineyro Alberto Cabrera Paul Blackburn Yasiel Balaguert Josh Vitters Rob Zastryzny Neil Ramirez Christian Villanueva Jeimer Candelario Juan Carlos Paniagua Arismendy Alcantara Mike Olt Gioskar Amaya Kyle Hendricks Jake Arrieta Jorge Soler Pierce Johnson Javier Baez Kris Bryant Albert Almora
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

2013 Cubs Prospects in Review: Kris Bryant

Kris Bryant stands 6-5 and weighs 215 pounds. He was born on January 4, 1992 and was drafted out of the University of San Diego this year. He was the Cubs first pick (3rd overall) and was rated as the 3rd best draft prospect by Baseball America. He plays 3rd base and es expected to be able to continue playing there, but there has been some talk of him later moving to right field...

Greg Maddux to Manage? Tony LaRuss to Not

The Chicago Cubs have had more than fifty managers since they last won the World Series in 1908.  And depending on who you listen to, team brass might be dipping into their past in an effort to help lead the Cubs into the future. Ladies and gentlemen, if you can believe ESPN's Bruce Levine, Greg Maddux is being considered for the Cubs vacant managerial gig.  Or maybe it...

Bar owner recovers Santo memorabilia

Who knows why somebody with the Chicago Cubs decided to chuck a bunch of Ron Santo memorabilia in a dumpster on Monday? What's important is that it was recovered and will be returned to the proper hands . And by that, we mean the hands of Jeff Santo, son of the late Cubs great. Let's rehash a bit. First, the Cubs tossed several banners and a giant card signed by fans shortly...

Shocking News That is Shocking: Banks & Williams to Appear at Cubs Convention

I know all of you have been laying awake at night and wondering if you might get a chance to see either Billy Williams or Ernie Banks at the Cubs Convention in January. Sure, they have both been there every other year, and the Cubs never miss an opportunity to trot the 1969 Cubs out to talk about what might have been, but maybe Ernie has had enough and is willing to say the Cubs...

Oh Mio Amaya!

Gioskar Amaya drilled two home runs and an RBI single, Jesse Hodges doubled twice, singled, and drove-in two runs, and Kelvin Freeman belted a two-run HR, leading the Cubs to a 9-4 victory over the Athletics in Arizona Instructional League action this afternoon at the Papago Park Sports Complex Field #2 (AKA "Connie Macjk Field") in Phoenix.Amaya also reached base on an...

Yankees won’t allow Cubs shot at Joe Girardi

The Cubs haven’t won a thing in 105 years and when it comes to Joe Girardi the Yanks intend to keep it that way. While reports surfaced Wednesday that ownership in Chicago believes the Yankee skipper is someone who could inject life and excitement into the moribund Cubs franchise and the disenchanted Wrigley faithful a source said the Yankees aren’t willing to even give them...

Snakes Ambush Cubs at Ramada Field

Sergio Alcantara belted a two-run triple, Daniel Palka ripped an RBI triple, and Jose Munoz laced an RBI double to highlight a five-run 8th, Chuck Taylor doubled, singled twice, stole a base, and scored three runs, and Brad Keller and four relievers combined to throw a three-hit shutout, as the Diamondbacks blanked the Cubs 7-0 in Arizona Instructional League action this morning...

New CSN Documentary focuses on 2003 Cubs, Bartman Game

On the 10th anniversary of the 2003 Chicago Cubs season-ending defeat to the Florida Marlins in Game 7 of the NLCS, Comcast SportsNet wil air a documentary about that memorable season highlighted by the Steve Bartman game. It’s entitled “5 Outs” and has a running time of 90-minutes. “Catching Hell” by ESPN films was excellent. It focused on Bartman, and his whole backstory...

Decision By Joe Girardi Could Come This Weekend

Before the New York Yankees begin pursuing any free-agent players on the market – like their own Robinson Cano – they must first take care of Joe Girardi and his expiring contract. Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that the Chicago Cubs are preparing themselves to make an offer to Girardi that would make him one of the two highest-paid managers in the majors...

Cubs poised to make Joe Girardi an offer

If Joe Girardi is serious about wanting to manage the Cubs then he might be staring at his last best shot. Multiple sources say the Cubs are poised to make the Yankees’ skipper an offer that could make him one of the two highest-paid managers in the game from a Cubs ownership group and business side of the operation that has coveted him since long before Theo Epstein was hired...

Cubs front office believes the foundation has been laid

You can't put a price on convenience. Especially when that convenience allows Cubs fans the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the future. As the big-league club marched toward a 96-loss season fans in the Chicagoland area could turn their attention to the prospects playing for the Kane County Cougars just 40 miles from Wrigley Field. As an organization the Cubs have not had...

Brewers' Mat Gamel claimed by rival Cubs

Once considered one of the team's top prospects Mat Gamel's time with the Milwaukee Brewers has come to an end. A day after the team placed him on waivers the first baseman was claimed by the Chicago Cubs. Gamel 28 hasn't played since May of 2012 because of two different ACL tears in his right knee. Drafted by the Brewers in the fourth round of the 2005 draft Gamel quickly...

Cubs fire fungible Dale Sveum, Mets retain replaceable Terry Collins

The Cubs recently fired manager Dale Sveum. Originally given a three-year contract prior to the 2012 season, Sveum was let go with a year remaining on his deal. In his two years leading Chicago, his teams went a combined 127-197. The Cubs won five more games this year than a season ago, but the fact that several of Chicago’s highly-touted youngsters failed to progress this...

Yankees Rumors: New York has made 'very generous' offer to Joe Girardi

Joe Girardi has easily been the most coveted manager this offseason. He has drawn interest from the Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals and the New York Yankees. Girardi is under contract with the Yankees until October 31 and the Yankees aren't likely going to let anyone talk to him. The Chicago Cubs have shown serious interest in Girardi, but they may not even get a chance...

Report: Nationals Ask Yankees for Permission To Interview Manager Joe Girardi

Joe Girardi is a man in demand right now with his New York Yankees contract set to expire at the end of October. The Chicago Cubs, who fired Dale Sveum earlier this week, are interested in making Girardi their next manager, per the Chicago Sun-Times. Now, the Washington Nationals, and possibly the Cincinnati Reds, too, are interested in speaking with the 48-year-old about their managerial...
Cubs News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.