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