Cubs agree to sign top pick OF Albert Almora for $3.9M

Cubs agree to sign top pick OF Albert Almora for $3.9M

Per Jim Callis,

‪#Cubs agree w/1st-rder Albert Almora on $3.9 mil (pick value=$3.25 mil). Florida HS OF w/lots of tools & polish.

As I've written about in the past, Almora was never really a threat not to sign.  Agent Scott Boras was most likely waiting until the last moment possible to see how much pool money would be available.  He got all of what was left - and I'm guessing he got over 100K for college as well.  The Cubs, like many other teams, signed several of their top 10 picks for well under slot money, money they used to pay overslot on both OF Albert Almora and RHP Duane Underwood.  They have signed their first 20 picks and will now look to see who they can lure away from college.  It's not likely they have enough money to sway OF Rhett Wiseman or C/RHP Blake Hickman, but the Cubs have some lower level talent still unsigned such as RHP Clayton Crum, LHP Jake Drossner, and 3B/RHP Damek Tomscha.

Here is more detail from Jim Callis,

Almora's bonus exceeded the assigned value for the No. 6 pick by $650,000, leaving the Cubs $373,800 above their $7,933,900 bonus pool for the first 10 rounds. They'll pay a 75-percent tax on the overage as a penalty under the new draft rules, a bill that will come to $280,350.

College baseball would have been a waste of time and money for Almora.  By signing now, he will get to the majors at a younger age and be eligible for arbitration and free agency sooner.  That's where he'll make the real money and nobody knows that better than Scott Boras.

There are other reasons, such as injury risk and the lost development time.  Almora is more experienced than the average high school player, having been on Team USA a record-tying 6 times.  I don't believe he would have been challenged by some of the lesser college pitchers.

Almora immediately becomes one of the Cubs top 3 prospects along with SS Javier Baez and OF Jorge Soler.

I wrote this about Almora earlier,

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.

Said one scout,

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

Short and to the point -- and it describes Almora to a tee.

My best guess is that Almora starts the year in Arizona, as many of the Cubs better prospects have and receive some focused instruction.  He'll then move to Boise, but considering he's more advanced than Baez at the same age,  it wouldn't be shocking to see him in Peoria at some point this season and it's a good bet that he'll at least start there next season.

Filed under: MLB Draft

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  • fb_avatar

    Well, that's a cure for a case of the Monday's!!!

  • In reply to John Hefel:

    Sure is. Wasn't expecting much news on All-Star Weekend. This will hold me over until Thursday.

  • fb_avatar

    Right so I see!

  • Everyone taken care of now, John?

  • In reply to lokeey:

    The top 20 picks are signed. Top unsigned guys are Damek Tomscha, Blake Hickman, Rhett Wiseman, Jake Drossner, Clayton Crum...

    Cubs only have 122K to spend on those guys, so unlilkely they get Wiseman or Hickman. Other guys are possible, but wouldn't surprise me if all went to college.

  • Greedy kid better be worth it... if not, he won't have any compassion from me.

  • In reply to Ibleedcubbieblue:

    He's just getting market value. I think most people would take the highest possible salary they could get for their job, all things being equal.

  • Great news!

  • In reply to Manny:

    Wooohhoooo!

  • Signing Almora and Underwood turned this into a great draft. Let's hope they can pull a few decent prospects from contenders in the coming weeks.

  • In reply to Dave S:

    And they still have $2m plus to spend on international players.

  • Here's some pictures of Jorge Soler modeling cubbie blue
    http://billmitchell.photoshelter.com/search?I_DSC=jorge+soler&G_ID=G0000DyZFTZbJ82g&C_ID=C0000cCXdjc.UyUQ&I_DSC_AND=t&_ACT=usrSearch

  • http://t.co/DsiRqO7Z

    Try this link instead.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Cool, thank SFToby!

  • In reply to SFToby:

    SFToby-Thanks for sharing; am I looking at the Cubs new multi-tool future star, or a rookie pass catching tight end for the Bears?! Can't judge a book by it's cover-but sure am excited to see this kid in action at a minor league ballpark soon.

  • In reply to Upstate NY Cubs Fan:

    He's a physical specimen. Hope that translates!

  • Good news and no surprises. I'd guess that Boras will employ this tactic for all of his top clients.

    What's college money? Reimbursement for turning down a full scholarship?

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    Yep. Almora stated a desire to go to college and teams can give that money outside the pool limit.

  • I wonder if the teams with high picks got the talent they should
    have drafted with the new CBA. In a few years when its is all
    said and done I believe the new CBA will turn out to bad overall
    for bad and low market teams.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Teams would have gotten more talent under the old CBA

  • Congratulations to Cubs management for drafting and signing Almora. He sounds like an outstanding prospect with the talent to potentially bring joy to Cub fans for many years.
    Also kudos to Almora and his business representatives for negotiating the best possible deal under the new guidelines. Cub fans should not regard Almora as greedy. His patience to wait for best dollar demonstrates a level of maturity and sophistication for a high schooler. Hope Almora's maturity helps him progress through minors quickly and deal with the expectations of playing in a major market.

  • In reply to Rosemary:

    Well said, Rosemary. Great way to put it.

  • Holy Cow , his name backwards is Aromla , Hey Steve pass me an ice cold Budweiser . Seriously good news . Kid has a chance to be a real good one , safest high floor/ with ceiling pick in the draft.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    LOL :) Awesome news.

    I think we'll have fun keeping up with him on the minor league recaps.

  • fb_avatar

    Good news! I'm glad it worked out that way.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    It was really just a matter of time. Much more to be gained than lost for Boras and Almora. And Cubs got a guy they had ranked among the top 2 or 3 guys in the whole draft. They didn't want to lose him either.

  • John, taking Rizzo off your latest list, your mid-season top prospect lists were: Javier Baez: Low A, 3B, 19, Jorge Soler: Has not played, RF, 20, Albert Almora: unsigned, CF, 18, Brett Jackson, AAA, CF, 23, Welington Castillo, AAA, C, 25, Jeimer Candelario, Short-Season A, 3B, 18, Junior Lake, AA, SS, 22, Matt Szczur, High A, CF, 22, Josh Vitters, AAA, 3B, 22
    Does this list still hold true for you? Who would you slide into number 10? I can't wait until a few trades fall through that push a few pitchers onto this list. How close is Underwood to this list?

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    I'd move Candelario up at this point to #5. I'd probably put RHP Pierce Johnson, Duane Underwood, or even Alberto Cabrera at 10. I'll make an official list later. I'll probably fiddle with 5-10 a little too.

  • I have been away on vacation without Internet for a couple weeks and it is great to see all the movement that has been happening. Super pumped that all the first 20 picks have signed (rademacher is already looking like a nice pick in the 13th) and overall its looking like a very nice draft with everyone in, really wonder though if they can sign anyone else

    Quick question; where does Almora start? Azl rookie league? Really excited to him and soler get going

  • In reply to Andrew13:

    I think we'll at least see him get some ABs in AZ and I'll guess he winds up in Boise, though Peoria is possible.

  • In reply to Andrew13:

    And welcome back Andrew13!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Sounds good and thank you

    Was starting to get itchy not being able to check things out, northern WI aint much for cell coverage

    Thanks to bryan craven for answering as well

  • AZL for a few weeks , the Boise . I would expect him to next year start in peoria then if He is killing it go to High A .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    That would be a very fast track. I'll be happy if he ends up in Peoria, though part of that is because its a 2 1/2 hour drive away.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Given his age, you'd have to think he plays out the year in the AZL, right? What's the deal on Winter Leagues? I know that each team sends 6 players to the Arizona Fall League, but it is meant for higher up prospects (AA & AAA), But do the Cubs send any newly-drafted prospects to the other Winter leagues? If not, do they just keep them at the training facility to condition and practice?

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    I think he's advanced enough to play in Boise, but he'll start in AZ. Could probably even hold his own in Peoria right now. He's more advanced than Baez at the same age.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I believe they'll play it conservative with him as they have with their other prospects. Obviously there was some part of Baez's game they wanted to work on/fix in their own controlled environment. (I've said it before, but it is this focus on organziational coaching that I really like to see. It was my biggest disappointment with Hendry, especially given his background.)

    Unless they view Almora as flaw-free (unlikely for a HS guy) I think they'll keep him in AZ as long as they view necessary. I am interested to see how they handle a low level guy (like Baez or hopefully Almora) who flat rakes. They stressed a full year at AAA for Rizzo, will they do the same at each level for the young guys?

  • In reply to jimmy mac1:

    A full year in AAA is a requirement for hitters but a full year at the lower levels isn't necessarily part of the plan. Good players will skip levels, as Baez and Candelario have. The Red Sox did the same with Xander Bogaerts when Theo was there last year. It's going to depend on the player, but holding all players to one level at a time will do a disservice to the more talented/advanced prospects.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree. Good comparison with Bogaerts. I never felt Hendry utilized AAA. Most of the quick risers just went straight from AA.

  • In reply to jimmy mac1:

    Good point. He did seem to bring guys straight from AA a lot. And he did a lot of fast-tracking with the top prospects, which was to put them in a league for half a year and then promote them midway through the season. I don't have any problem with that per se, but it seemed like it was done without any real plan. They just picked guys they wanted to move quickly and promoted them seemingly without any goals or requirements.

  • In reply to jimmy mac1:

    I always had the feeling that Hendry had a plan (or desire) to progress individual prospects at a certain pace, but when they weren't progressing at the desired pace or had a hot spell, he would rationalize their promotion. In other words, he would change the measuring criteria midstream and not stick to the plan.

  • Found this site about a month ago and can't stop reading! Love the articles n the comments. This site has eased the pain of this season, and make me want to jump ahead two years at the same time. That being said, great to see this kid sign, and cant wait to see what the FO does these upcoming weeks! Great work John & Tom

  • In reply to MyersTech:

    Thanks MT!

    Wish we could jump ahead too, but at the same time, it's kind of cool to see a team being built from the ground up and it'll be fun watching players go from draftees to prospects to MLB ballplayers.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    It will be interesting to see if there are any prospects left in the system from the Hendry era in a couple years. Expected news, but still great news. Just wish LaHair would have somehow slid into the HR derby to make it more interesting tonight.

  • In reply to WSorBust:

    Agreed! I think LaHair could give those guys a run for their money.

    As far as prospects, most Hendry prospects won't make it. But honestly, most Theo guys won't make it either. I think Baez makes it from the Hendry side, and I still think Jackson becomes a non-star regular.

  • I won't be surprised if the whole year thing is just for AAA. Promotions from other levels would be based on what they are expected to learn from the level of play available.

  • In reply to cubster:

    That wouldn't surprise me either.

  • John,

    Love your website as I access it multiple times daily. I do have one request, however.

    The time that an article is posted appears on the main page, but if it is updated later, that time does not appear. Would you please post the time of the original article as well as the time of the latest update? My time is limited, so I dislike having to look again at something I've seen just to make sure it wasn't updated. If an article hasn't been updated I can then go on my merry way!

    Please consider implementing this.

    Thanks,
    Matt

  • In reply to giamby:

    Sure Matt, will do, thanks for the suggestion. The way our system is set up, I'll have to update it within the article itself.

    And thanks for reading!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Of course, I'll update it at the top so you can see it from the main page.

  • That could be true as well, Moonlight. Maybe they adjusted their plan as they went along.

  • Want to say I've been reading all year and your your insight. Quick unrelated question? Where is Reggie Golden? Haven't heard anything about him in some time. I know he is a long shot prospect. But don't know if he's injured?

  • In reply to ddbennett34:

    Tore ACL early in April. Lost season for him, I would expect him to be back in Peoria to start 2013.

  • In reply to ddbennett34:

    Cameron answered that one for me. It's too bad, I was looking for a breakthrough season for him. He's kind of a thick, muscular guy and he was going to lose speed anyway. Now you wonder that if he comes back if he's going to have to rely more on being a power guy to make it.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    He's an extreme long shot in my books right now. He's behind in his development compared to even a guy like Michael Burgess. I just view him as a trade chip.

  • In reply to Cameron Macpherson:

    Burgess is a huge longshot, though I'm happy to see hes making much better contact this year. His time is running out, though....I'm not sure he'll be with the organization long term. I'd still bet on Golden between the two as far as making an impact -- but I don't think either one will now.

  • sounds like gausman is gunna head back to college and if appel and gausman dont sign and go into nexts years draft it will be alittle stronger

  • In reply to dakota cubs fan:

    I saw that. It will certainly add to what is widely considered another thin crop.

  • fb_avatar

    John, How do some of our top draft picks compare to other players in past drafts..In short, how does Baez compare to Montanez at the same age. Or Almora versus Patterson...The reason I ask is, are the cubs learning from past mistakes? Drafts are always a big gamble, it would just be an interesting comparison to track what might work

  • In reply to Barry Bij:

    The Almora and Johnson picks give us a lot of insight as far as how they'll do things differently. Higher floors, hitters with potential for plate discipline, pitchers with better potential for command to go with great stuff. In general they'll look more at track record, which will probably mean more college players. This year they went where the strength was, which was high school pitching.

  • fb_avatar

    John first of all can you explain to me exactly how long is the contract for rookies when they first sign. 2nd of all how long till he reached the majors. 3rd. I have seen a lot of people dissing Dan Vogelbach and i just saw a few pictures of him and he doesn't look as heavy as Prince fielder and i would think that is somewhat a good thing.

  • When does Almora debut?

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