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Cubs select CF Albert Almora

Cubs select CF Albert Almora

In what was one of the worst kept secrets, but the Cubs have selected Albert Almora out of  Mater Academy, Hialeah Gardens, Florida. He's a potential 5 tool outfielder who has perhaps the best combination of upside, polish, and experience.  He is considered to have an off the charts mental makeup, including an incredible work ethic.  That makes him more likely than most picks to reach his potential.

I said this in my very first mock draft (although I had the Cubs taking Kyle Zimmer),

The Cubs aren't about to tell me what their draft plans are, but my Cubbie-senses are tingling that Almora is on their radar.  He just fits the profile of the kind of player both Sr. VP of Scouting Jason McLeod and Director of Amateur Scouting Tim Wilken seem to like.  He's athletic, he plays a premium position and he has a nice swing with an advanced feel for hitting.

Almora has been a member of Team USA 6 times, including being named USA Baseball's 2011 athlete of the year. He was also named the MVP of the 18-and-under Pan American Championships in Colombia in November 2011.

According to Baseball America one scout said the following about Almora,

"(Almora) has no issues. He's got above-average tools everywhere, and they all play. He has tools and he uses them."

The Cubs were looking for impact talent and Almora projects as an all-star.  He already plays above average defense, despite not possessing great speed, and has a great arm. Almora has an advanced swing with good bat speed and a feel for hitting.  Some worry a bit about his high leg kick, but that is likely something that will be tweaked at the pro level. His hitting mechanics and hand-eye coordination are excellent. Almora is a natural, instinctual player with an impeccable work ethic.

MLB Network compared Almora to both Ryan Braun and Adam Jones, although in my opinion he's closer to Jones.

There were rumors that the Cubs would have taken Almora even if they'd had the #1 pick in the draft, so they have to be excited they could get him at #6.

Looks like our front office got their man, so Cubs fans should be excited if we trust in Theo.

 

Filed under: MLB Draft

Tags: Albert Almora, Cubs, MLB Draft

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  • Yeah I thought they were gonna select him. Not I just hope Boras doesn't demand too much for him. I hope the Cubs cut a pre-draft deal around $3 million for his services, since he wouldn't be able to get that much if he fell. Not to mention San Diego's and Miami's parks are death for offensive players. If Boras really cares about his clients he should steer good hitting prospects away from those parks while trying to push his pitching prospects to those teams (SD, Miami and Seattle).

  • In reply to I miss Ron Santo:

    I think Boras has Appel as the guy he wants to make big money on.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Yes, and it cost him. I'm hearing Scott Boras is the entire reason Appel dropped so far.

  • No qualms at all with this pick. Seems like a really solid guy. All-star upside but has some serious polish. Plus how can you not like him after that mlb network piece. Dudes opted put for a batting cage instead of a swimming pool.

    Also could still go after good pitchers in supplemental rd.

  • In reply to furiousjeff:

    That MLB Network piece was great. I'm going to see if I can embed that on this blog.

    Can't wait until supplemental picks.

  • I'm a little sad we didn't get a crack at C. Correa, but I'm happy with A. Almora. Very safe pick and I think he'll develop into a great CF prospects. Still, if C. Correa manages to stick at SS AND has a bat as good, if not better than J. Baez...

  • In reply to I miss Ron Santo:

    Me too. I was hoping that Correa would be there with Almora and the Cubs would choose the guy they wanted.

  • excellent pick. u can argue that almora is the most likely hs player/player in the top 10 not to bust. thats a great feeling being a cubs fan. im not exactly thrilled about him being a boras client but i dont think we'll really need to worry about that until about 8 or 9 years from now.

    heres to hoping that he can join soler *crosses fingers* as our two newest faces of the future in the organization

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    Wouldn't that be something if we got Soler too? Rizzo, Baez, Jackson, Almora, and Soler

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, that's like a wet dream for Cubs fans (pardon the analogy)!!!! That would be one hell of an offensive foundation!!!!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Wouldn't it, now? I, for one, am very happy to get this young man. How long has it been since we were able to project an everyday lineup like this one? Sure, it's projection, but we may just have a lineup that will finally strike fear into opposing pitching staffs. I know that good pitching stops good hitting, but mediocre to bad pitching stops bad hitting too. We see that as we speak.

    Having said that, forgive me for being critical of our "beloved Tribune and Mr. Rogers, who ends his piece with: "Given the new signing rules, it was an easy decision. But how many people will remember that if Appel is an All-Star and Almora fails to deliver on his promise?"

    He seems to be writing to some of the dopes that comment on the Cubs in Trib articles - those that have to find something wrong with everything the Cubs' FO does. Sure, he showed the logic and reasoning behind the pick, but then he ends it with a negative "what if". Well, of course, it could indeed turn out that way, but negativity serves no one and we need to let the FO do its work without taking shots. Sorry for the rant.

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    Sorry - forgot the link: http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/columnists/ct-spt-0605-rogers-on-baseball-draft--20120605,0,3160461.column

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    Couldn't agree more. No (specific) mention of Almora's Team USA appearances or across the board tools. And no mention of how foolish Pittsburgh will look if they blow $8 mil on Appel, cannot sign over half of their other 1st 10 Round picks and Appel doesn't fulfill HIS promise.

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    I voted for this guy on your first poll. I really like this kid. When you look at his experience and his upside i was really surprised that he fell to number 6. Maybe that is why i am not a GM.

  • In reply to Larry:

    Good call! There were rumors that 2-3 teams above the Cubs were interested. But nobody liked him more than the Cubs did.

  • I was hoping they'd focus on a nearly ready pitcher, like Zimmer.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    The thinking lately is that none of them, except for Appel, are going to be #1 or #2 starters. Cubs going to gamble on higher upside arms later.

  • Interesting that the Standford kid fell to the Pitt. Thought he'd be top 3.

  • In reply to lokeey:

    Boras scared teams off. He's going to try and bleed the Pirates dry now.

  • John, despite not possessing great speed, is it possible he might be a future Right or Left Fielder?

  • In reply to lokeey:

    Could be, but think about Marlon Byrd, who was actually kind of slow the last two years. Played a better CF than Campana or Mather, who are both faster.

    They say his defense is above average in CF, so if he hits, that's a huge plus.

  • Not disappointed at all. Love the makeup and work ethic. There doesn't appear to be any huge question marks. We certainly need "impact" players but the Cubs cannot afford to miss either. With all that being said I had a dream last night that Correa fell and JedStein snapped him up. Unfortunately I had to get up and go to work this morning.

  • In reply to Bilbo Baggins:

    I was wondering before the draft what would have happened if both Almora and Correa were available. I had Seattle taking him -- and I think they would have if he would have fallen.

  • Seems like a good choice. Hopefully he'll be more like Zach Greinke and less like Josh Karp, Ryan Harvey, Jeremy Sowers, Ricky Romero, Andrew Miller, Ross Detwiler and Kyle Skipworth, to name the most recent #6 picks.

  • In reply to h vaughn:

    Nicely done. Thanks for that research!

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    Long time reader...first time poster...Thanks to Tom and John for all that you do for this blog...I enjoy reading it everyday. I have to say I am a ok with this pick, although I am not really excited. I get kind of a meh or ok feeling here, right now I don't see the impact. Seems lie this kids intangibles are what makes him so appealing-- I need to read about some production against minor league competition before I get excited about his tools. I guess I would be more excited about Soler's potential if the cubs got him than Almora. What was the logic in passing on Appel? He has issues--certainly no prospect is without flaws; that being said he has frontline stuff, he is polished but with some room for projection, and he would start to fill the biggest void in the Cubs minor league system--lack of frontline pitching prospects. When he fell I figured the Cubs had to take him. Did the mileage on his arm scare the Jedstein and Co away?

  • In reply to PikaHD:

    Thanks for the kind words Pika!

    Makeup means little without tools, but Almora has those too. At least average or better across the board, so we're talking about a 5 tool guy. Almora is your "grinder with tools".

    I think it was mileage and the fact that Boras wanted teams to sign Appel for well over slot, which for the Cubs would mean punting on the next couple of picks. Appel is good, but the Cubs need multiple impact players. The Orioles and Royals both took inferior college arms to steer clear from that sort of deal.

    Some considered this an 8 player draft, so it's kind of fitting that the 8th team, the Pirates took him because there would be a big dropoff after that.

  • Although I agree that Almora is a really solid pick, I think for most Cubs' critics, he will forever be linked to Appel just because Appel was there at #6. This will probably be the case for all the teams that bypassed Appel, and if Appel turns out to be a Verlander/#1 ace.

    As for Almora, he joins a Cubs system that is starting to load up on positional player depth especially if we sign Soler. Although we can't get ahead of ourselves, a line up with Rizzo, Baez, Soler, and Almora is unbelievable. And I'm not even including Jackson, Vitters, Vogelbach, Szcur, and the Latin American bonus- babies we signed last year. Even if 2 or 3 of this group turn out as they are projected to be, that is exceptional. Fingers crossed.

    Now we need pitching.

  • In reply to BleacherBum82:

    Appel and Giolito were both there for the taking. So we'll have to follow their careers. Will also watch Max Fried, who was also a guy they really liked.

    Pitching is on the way.

  • The Cubs just picked a player who will teach Starlin Castro how not to forget how many outs there are in an inning. For that I like the pick.

  • In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    Teamwork.

  • I was hoping that Correa would be there for the Cubs to draft. Why Correa over Almora? Correa has better physical tools plus with all the experience that Almora has gotten over the last fews years, he is closer to being at the "peak of his perfection", ie, closer to being all that he can be, just like so many of the Cubs 1st round draft picks. Attempting to hit a baseball can be a very humbling experience, so let's hope that Almora's A+ mental toughness helps him to get over the hump. Also, I'm looking forward to the Cubs signing Jorge Soler later in the week. Why? Because Ricketts and Epstein know that Cub fans deserve it, as simple as that.

  • In reply to shalin:

    Almora still has a lot of upside. He's still a kid and should develop some power. I do like Correa better as well, though. He was my top guy in this draft. Unfortunately, he was the Astros top guy too.

  • John,

    Once the supplemental picks are in, are you planning to do a brief preview of who the Cubs might take in the next couple of rounds, or at least what their thinking will be in the 2nd round?

  • I am very happy with Almora. Even though he doesn't quite have the upside of Correa or Buxton his excellent makeup makes up for it. IMO he really does look like a future all-star. I get the feeling Appel does not become a all-star, just my gut.

  • They're saying Mark Appel not happy about sliding to #8 and Pittsburgh. Didn't go to press conference. Is he a prima donna?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Wow that is weak. If he does end up signing with Pitt you have to think his future teamates will know he was whining. I can see Baez taking him deep on a 3-0 count when the Cubs are up by 15 and liking it.

  • In reply to Bilbo Baggins:

    Made some excuse of concentrating on his studies. Wonder if the Cubs knew this about him. Seems a little entitled.

  • John, I think that hitting a baseball is at least 50% mental, and you don't make it to the majors unless you are mentally tough. I hope that you are right that Almora still has a lot of upside. I don't think that Corey Patterson, who had awesome physical tools, improved very much from when he finished high school. He was dominating in the Midwest league at 19, but never seemed to be able to maintain his confidence. I know that as he moved up, especially after joining the Cubs, he was striking out well over 30% of his at bats. Why? I don't know

  • In reply to shalin:

    Couldn't agree more, but at least Patterson has had a long major league career. The Cubs have all kinds of physical guys who lacked the kind of mental makeup needed. I think of Mark Pawelek, who had to get paid by his father to throw strikes, then tripped over an x-box and had a shoulder injury..and the best example of all, Ben Christensen, who had some real mental issues.

  • I was just looking at the ESPN chat and Kiley McDaniel was asked "Who do you think will be the best player from this draft in 7 years?" and McDaniel said, "Give me Almora, all day long."

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    Ha! Doesn't surprise me. McDaniel had Almora #1 on his board.

  • Man was hoping Zach Eflin would fall to us. but only because his name sounds like Zac Efron lol. Pat Light just went suckish.

  • Hey John, I just wanna say, Pierce Johnson is a great pick. I'm an MSU alum and have seen him pitch. Suffered a minor injury this year, but was a major part of our rotation. I really think he can be a solid major league starter, but if he goes go into the bullpen, he'll be electric.

  • Pierce Johnson interesting pick. Great arm, swing and miss stuff but some injury issues. Worst case scenario he's a bullpen guy.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    My heart sank when Boston took Pat Light.

  • I am not familiar with Johnson, how does he profile as a starter?

  • In reply to supercapo:

    Sorry, not able to get to comments as quickly. Draft day hectic for me. Just did a write up. Has #2 starter stuff.

  • I'm pretty happy with Almora, seems like a kid you really want to root for. And I hope you can post a link to that MLB Network piece they ran on him before the draft, I was going to DVR it but had a brain cramp and accidentally changed the channel a few minutes later.

  • I was reading the article on drafting Almora on Cubs.com. In the article it states that the Cubs can pay him a 3.25 million bonus, but if they go over that they pay a penalty.
    I thought that a team had a total bonus amount of money, and they can divide it up anyway they choose, as long as they don't go over the total. Seems bizzare that they would have the wrong info on the team website.

  • The Ryan Braun comparisons are typical draft-day hyperbole. I think a more realistic (but still exciting) comparison would be Vernon Wells.

    Like Almora, Wells was a 6-foot-1 CF who hit from the right side. Almora was the sixth pick. Wells was fifth in 1997. Both were high schoolers.

    Wells moved quickly through the minors, making his debut with Toronto at just 20 years old, when he was one of Baseball America's top 5 prospects. The Jays were worried about rushing him, though, and it took till Wells was 23 to become a starter. For the next five seasons he hit from .269 - .317, with home run totals ranging from 23 - 33, all while winning Gold Gloves for his play in CF.

    In fact, Wells might have been on his way to a HOF career if he hadn't tailed off so dramatically after he turned 28. Maybe that's a work ethic issue -- Wells has definitely gained some bad weight the last several years. With Almora's makeup, maybe he'd be able to sustain success over a longer stretch. But even if he *only* gives us Vernon Wells' prime production for five years, he'll help the Cubs win a LOT of ball games.

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