Pending a physical on Monday, the Chicago Cubs organization may have just signed their best overall prospect ever. Albert Almora, the team’s first-round pick in the 2012 MLB draft (6th overall) is one of the most polished high school players you will ever see, and he defines a ballplayer in every sense of the word.
The 6’2“, 190-pound center fielder has across-the-board tools on both sides of the field and has had baseball in his blood since the age of three. As a kid, his parents asked if he wanted a swimming pool or a batting cage in the backyard. His answer then has paid off in a big way now as he reportedly received a $3.9MM signing bonus.
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A six-time member of Team USA baseball, Almora has played on the biggest of stages and has excelled on every one of them. He was named the MVP of the COPABE Pan Am Championships held in Cartagena, Colombia last fall. Over nine games, he went 16-for-38 (.421) and led the team with 11 runs, five doubles, 11 RBI and nine stolen bases as Team USA went 9-0, winning the gold by outscoring their opponents 88-8.
That performance saw his stock soar heading into his senior season at Mater HS in Hiahleah, Florida. Over 31 games this season, he hit .603 (44-for-73) with 13 doubles, five triples, six home runs, 34 RBI and was 24-for-25 in stolen base attempts. He also only struck out three times and had a slash line of .667/1.164/1.831.
Almora has plus speed, as well as a plus arm in center field. Couple those with his instincts and glove, and he should be able to stick at one of the premiere positions in baseball. At the plate, he has extremely quick wrists and excellent bat speed, allowing him to drive any pitch thrown to him. He projects to a high-average hitter, and although he has above-average power right now, he should develop even more as his body matures. He also has a very high understanding of the game and an advanced approach at the plate, as shown by his strikeout rate in high school.
Aside from his talents on the field, he is also a selfless person off of it. On the day he left for the Pan Am Championships, his grandmother passed away. His family decided not to tell him until he got back, thinking there was nothing he could do anyway and they wanted him to put all of his focus on bringing back the gold medal and being the leader of his team. When he came back home, he had his gold medal buried alongside his grandmother, saying he won it for her, so he wanted her to have it.
Almora plays the game the right way, and is a true leader both on and off the field. All he ever wanted to do was be a baseball player and the Cubs are the lucky organization to have given him that opportunity.