After a successful first half with the Daytona Cubs (A+), Chicago Cubs’ prospect, Albert Almora earned himself a promotion to AA. However, Almora’s success in Daytona didn’t translate right away and as a result it has been a hard month for the 20-year-old centerfielder. However, it looks like Almora has finally found his groove, hitting .310 in his last ten games. Over that span he also had four multi-hit games a streak of five consecutive games with a run scored.
(stats per baseball-reference.com)
Almora was the number 18 prospect in all of baseball entering the 2014 season, according to MLB.com, and his early struggles with the Tennessee Smokies will be nothing more than a blip on his resume when all is said and done. Almora projects to be the Chicago Cubs’ starting centerfielder in a few years thanks to his tremendous defense, gap-to-gap power and off-the-chart intangibles. That being said, there are still a number of things that the organization would like to see him improve on, the most important being his ability to draw walks. Almora has shown good plate discipline, striking out just 13.7% of the time in 2014, but he is still very much a free swinger, drawing just 14 walks in 495 plate appearances. The goal is not to turn Almora into Joey Votto and average more than a walk per game, but it is important that he get his on base percentage up a bit higher. Year in and year out, the average major league on base percentage is about 60 points higher than the league batting average but Albert Almora’s career .obp (.325) is just 28 points higher than his career batting average (.297).
It is important that Almora receives the proper coaching and support as he attempts to improve his on base percentage because it is a lot more complicated than just seeing more pitches. The Chicago Cubs tried to do the same thing with Starlin Castro before/during the 2013 season and, as a result, saw his average drop from .283 in 2012 to .245 in 2013. Additionally, Starlin Castro had a lot less ground to make up. In Castro’s four minor league seasons he had an on base percentage that was 52 points higher than his batting average (.310/.362).
The good news is that Albert Almora has plenty of time to develop his game and improve in the areas that he needs to and with 2014 being his first full season of professional baseball, no one is worried about where this kid is headed.
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