It’s sad that Soler might miss a couple of weeks. He was hitting .303 with 3 HRs, 7 RBIs, and an amazing OBP of .438 in his last 15 games. But for Albert Almora, this cannot be a better way for him to break in. I don’t think this is going to be the case of Wally Pip and Lou Gehrig, but Almora is going to get a taste of life in the show for 15 days. And really there’s not a better time for him to come up. The Cubs are winning, it’s a great clubhouse, he’s played with most of the guys at AA and in spring training, and he’s going to give 110% every day. He would only be up in Chicago for two weeks, then he would go back to Iowa.
Last year, Kyle Schwarber came up and saw some DH action for a very short period which only advanced his development. This stint, like Schwarber’s, really is too whet Almora’s appetite for the show. He becomes the third player drafted in the Theo Epstein era to make it to Chicago. And in this sample, he’s going to learn a lot, especially about hitting. I don’t think there is anyone in the entire world that is concerned about his defense.
What would the Cubs be getting in Albert Almora?
1. High Baseball IQ – I don’t think Almora gets enough credit for his baseball intelligence. There are other factors listed below that I think people are more aware of, but Almara knows how to play the game game to win, and most importantly, he knows what it means to sacrifice his own statistics for the sake of the wind
2. Defense – This kid can flat out go get the baseball. And in this little sneak peek that he’s going to get, and probably will see him again in late August, he will show you how great of a defender he is. He gets unbelievable jumps on the ball and he takes such great routes without care for his body, some may see that is a concern. Then again, in almost 4 years in the Cubs’ system, he’s only been injured once as a result of his defensive play. That lasted 7 days.
3. Baserunning – like Kris Bryant, Almora is an excellent baserunner. He gets great reads on the ball and goes from 1st to 3rd and 2nd to home home with the best of them despite not having elite speed.
4. Hitting – Outside of half a year at Kane County in 2013, 2016 is Almora’s best season. He can hit a lot of balls. I don’t think there’s any ball that he can’t hit. The problem has been he should not be trying to hit every baseball. What the Cubs have focused on the last year with Almora is how to be a very selective hitter, His walks greatly increased last year Tennessee in the second half. It was going very well in April this year, but in May he only had two walks. This is why I think that this two-week stint just could get him going to improve his plate discipline.
The only thing that scares me the next two weeks for Almora it is if he tries too hard. He just needs to relax and play the way that he plays. If he does that, he’s going to help the team win in some form or fashion, whether it’s baserunner, defender, or hitter. I like the fact that he’s coming up, and and I hope it’s just for him to get a taste of the show. Then when he comes back up in late August early September, he’ll be on the 40 man roster and eligible for the playoff roster. To be honest, I think he needs to be on the playoff roster if only for his defense and baserunning. I don’t care if he plays center, I don’t care he plays left, I’m just going to get a kick out of watching him play on the big screen in my living room for the next two weeks. Then next year, the transition will not be so hard.