Results tagged ‘ Albert Almora ’
Mesa is still unbeaten, after taking down Scottsdale 7-4 Tuesday. Albert Almora continued his successful fall season, while Jorge Soler and Armando Rivero got into the action as well. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s game.
Albert Almora, CF – After a few days of rest, Almora led off for the Solar Sox. The 2012 first-round pick drew a walk to start the bottom of the third and scored two batters later on a C.J. Cron (Angels) homer. The team batted around in the third. With men on second and third and two outs, Almora hit a ground-rule double to left-center field, scoring David Freitas (Athletics) and Dixon Machado (Tigers). Then in the bottom of the fifth with nobody on base, he recorded another double to right to finish the game 2-for-4 with a walk.
Armando Rivero, RHP – Rivero entered the game in the eighth inning and gave up a bloop double and a single to the first two batters he faced. Jarrett Parker (Giants) followed with a sacrifice fly. That was all the damage Scottsdale could do, however. RIvero’s final line read: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER.
Jorge Soler, DH – Soler singled in the bottom of the fourth and finished the day 1-for-5.
Mesa heads out to Peoria Wednesday, with the first pitch scheduled for 1:35 CST. Tommy Collier (Tigers) will take the mound for the Solar Sox while right-hander Matt Heidenreich (Astros) goes for the Javelinas. Kris Bryant will be batting fourth and playing third, and Wes Darvill will bat ninth and play second base for Mesa.
Mesa continued its offensive onslaught Thursday night, topping Salt River 8-1. Only outfielder Albert Almora and reliever Armando Rivero entered the game for the Cubs, but both made the most of their playing time. Here are the Cubs highlights from yesterday’s action:
Albert Almora, RF: Almora slid over to right field to make room for Washington’s Brian Goodwin (No. 65 prospect overall, according to MLB.com) and batted first for the Sox. He began the night with a groundout and a flyout before leading off the fifth inning with a single to left. An error on a pickoff attempt got the 19-year-old to third, where he’d later score on a Goodwin fielder’s choice. With the bases loaded in the ninth, Almora tripled to center, scoring Matt Skole (Nationals), Max Muncy (Athletics) and David Freitas (Athletics). Goodwin drove him in later that inning. In all, Almora finished 2-for-5 with three RBI and two runs.
Armando Rivero, RHP: Rivero entered the game in the ninth inning and gave up a leadoff double before recording a popout and a double-play to end the game. In two innings pitched this season, the right-hander has a 0.00 ERA with three strikeouts.
It took exactly two games for Cubs farmhands—a group that was already the talk of the Arizona Fall League—to get Arizona and North Side fans buzzing. All four Cubs position players saw action in the Solar Sox’s 13-3 win over Glendale, and all four made an impact. Their combined final line read: 8-for-14, 3 HR, 3 2B, 2 BB, 11 RBI, 8 R. Here’s what each player did yesterday.
Albert Almora, CF — Almora saw his first AFL action Wednesday, and got right to it, leading off the bottom of the first with a home run to left on the first pitch he saw. In the bottom of the second with runners on first and third, the 2012 first-round pick ripped a double to right, scoring Adrian Nieto (Nationals) and Dixon Machado (Tigers). He then led off the fourth with a sharp single to left field and would score three batters later on a Jorge Soler double. Almora again led off the fifth inning with a single to left, but would be stranded. He finished the day 4-for-5 with one home run and three RBI.
Kris Bryant, 3B — Batting fifth in the lineup, Bryant smashed a three-run homer in the bottom of the first, scoring Devon Travis (Tigers) and Zach Borenstein (Angels). Bryant singled to center in the bottom of the third and drew a walk in the fourth. The 2013 first-round pick did commit a fielding error in the top of the third, but no runs scored as a result. He finished the day 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI.
Wes Darvill, 3B — Darvill entered the game as a defensive substitute in the seventh and recorded a two-run home run in the eighth, scoring Soler, who reached on a fielder’s choice. It was his only at-bat of the day.
Jorge Soler, DH — Shifting from the outfield on Tuesday to designated hitter on Wednesday, the Cuba native’s big at-bat came in the fourth inning when he hit a three-run double that scored Almora, Travis and Borenstein. Soler finished 1-for-5 with a walk and three RBI.
Mesa heads to Salt River Thursday night, where they will see the Blue Jays’ top prospect in right-hander Aaron Sanchez (No. 20 prospect in baseball, according to MLB.com). Washington’s Matt Purke will take the mound for Mesa, with first pitch scheduled for 7:35 central time. Lineups have not yet been posted.
Albert Almora will represent the Cubs as a member of the Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League. (Photo by Jason Wise)
The Arizona Fall League is upon us. Though many will be tuned into the MLB playoffs for the next few weeks, the AFL is the crystal ball of baseball, giving fans a glimpse of the game’s future stars.
Twenty-five of MLB’s top 100 prospects (according to MLB.com) will be participating in Arizona action, headlined by individuals like the Twins’ Byron Buxton and Pittsburgh’s Jameson Taillon. Even with those two budding stars, no organization has received more hype for the depth it’s bringing to the league than the Cubs. Three of the AFL’s top 10 prospects are from Chicago’s organization: Albert Almora, Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant.
Each member of that trio has received his fair share of hype, but a few other Cubs prospects who had solid 2013 campaigns are hoping to give the Mesa Solar Sox a boost as well.
Albert Almora, OF — The 2012 first-round pick and No. 21 prospect in baseball impressed when healthy this season. He hit .329/.376/.466 (AVG/OBP/SLG) in 61 games for Class-A Kane County. But he also missed the first month of the season, recovering from a broken hamate bone, and then was out of action from August-on, dealing with groin issues.
Dallas Beeler, RHP — Beeler got off to a fast start in 2013 with Double-A Tennessee, going 4-2 with a 3.13 ERA in 54.2 innings. But in late May, the right-hander tore a tendon in the middle finger of his pitching hand, shelving him for the season. The 24-year-old, 6-foot-5 starter is believed to be healthy and will pitch in Arizona to make up for a lost season.
Kris Bryant, 3B — Bryant was as advertised at the plate this year for the Cubs affiliates. The 2013 first-round pick (and No. 35 prospect in baseball) hit a combined .336/.390/.688 with nine homers and 14 doubles over 36 games with the instructional squad, Short-Season Boise and Daytona. Many eyes will be trained on the 21-year-old this fall.
Lendy Castillo, RHP — Not many players who have a full major league season under their belt play in the AFL. A 2011 Rule 5 pick, the Cubs were forced to put the reliever on their major league roster during the 2012 season or forfeit him back to Philadelphia, his original organization. Castillo spent the majority of 2013 with Kane County before a late-July promotion to Daytona. His 39 walks in 84.1 innings definitely contributed to his lofty 5.87 ERA, but he also fanned 8.1 batters per nine innings and 9.4 per nine in his 20-inning stint with the D-Cubs.
Wes Darvill, IF — The 22-year-old Canadian played all over the diamond for both Kane County and Daytona this season, seeing time at second base, third base, shortstop and left field. Darvill spent the first month of the season with the Cougars before a promotion to the D-Cubs. He hit a combined .267/.339/.380 in 94 games and finished second on the Daytona squad with five triples (seven on the season).
Matt Loosen, RHP — Loosen dominated hitters at High-A Daytona, going 5-2 with 56 strikeouts and a 1.83 ERA in 54.0 innings (including a no-hitter). But he struggled to find that same success in Tennessee. The 24-year-old righty was 3-3 with a 6.14 ERA, though he still managed to fan 60 batters in 66.0 innings. He showed promise late into the season, giving up one earned run in his last three starts combined and striking out 18 batters in 16.1 innings.
Armando Rivero, RHP — Rivero is a bit of a mystery for the Cubs. Signed out of Cuba prior to this season, the 25-year-old right-hander threw just 30.1 innings of full-season minor league ball. In all, he totaled a 4.15 ERA at Kane County, Daytona and Tennessee, and struck out 45. Rivero’s outings could be some of the more closely monitored by the Cubs during play in Arizona.
Jorge Soler, OF — Shin and leg issues kept the 21-year-old Cuban out of action after the High-A Florida State League All-Star Game, but Soler still managed to make an impact. In 55 games, the corner outfielder hit .281/.343/.467 with eight homers and 13 doubles in 210 at-bats. Baseball’s No. 25 prospect will hopefully rack up some innings and plate appearances to get back on track for 2014.
Cubs prospect Kris Bryant has emerged as a top 15 prospect in baseball, according to Keith Law. (Photo courtesy of the University of San Diego)
ESPN Insider Keith Law knows his way around the minor league ranks. Since the 2012 season ended, Law has been very complimentary of the Cubs system, going so far as to rank the Cubs the sixth-best farm system in baseball back in February. And based on his recent midseason Top 50 MLB prospect rankings (subscription required), that number is likely to improve.
Recent first-round draft pick Kris Bryant, 2012 Cuban signee Jorge Soler, 2012 first-round pick Albert Almora and 2011 first-round pick Javy Baez are all in Law’s top 27. While this is Bryant’s first appearance on Law’s list, the three others have all improved their rank. It’s also worth noting infielder Arismendy Alcantara was one of eight players in the honorable mention section. Here’s what Law had to say about the quartet.
15. Kris Bryant, OF | Chicago Cubs (age 21)
Current level: Short-season Class A (Boise)
Preseason ranking: Ineligible
Signed to the biggest bonus in this year’s draft (as predicted in this space), Bryant has huge raw power from the right side, a rare and valuable commodity in and of itself, and profiles as a middle-of-the-order bat whether he’s at third base or in right field. He’s yet to play a game as of this writing.
20. Jorge Soler, OF | Chicago Cubs (age 21)
Current level: High Class A (Daytona)
Preseason ranking: 42
Soler would have been in the Futures Game and likely in Double-A were it not for a stress fracture that has him on the shelf until at least early August and possibly until instructional league, although he could pick up some needed at-bats in the Arizona Fall League.
He remains a high-ceiling player, with a quick bat, easy power and running speed, but losing a half-season of reps doesn’t help.
25. Albert Almora, OF | Chicago Cubs (age 19)
Current level: Low Class A (Kane County)
Preseason ranking: 33
The irony of one of the game’s most prominent sabermetrically inclined front offices overseeing a farm system of guys who walk once a month deserves more attention than it’s gotten. I wonder if Bryant, who walked a ton in college this spring, will become an unrepentant hacker the moment he gets to Daytona.
Almora doesn’t walk much, but he has great feel for the bat, making a lot of hard contact, and plays plus defense in center.
27. Javier Baez, SS | Chicago Cubs (age 19)
Current level: Double-A (Tennessee)
Preseason ranking: 31
The player with the best bat speed in the minors should be higher on this list, in theory, but Baez operates under the strong belief — not entirely unfounded — that he can hit anything within a foot of the strike zone, which results in low walk rates and a tendency to give away at-bats when he doesn’t get a pitch he can crush right away.
He continues to play solid defense at shortstop and the power is insane, but it would be nice if someone in this farm system would walk more than twice a month.
Javier Baez has already enjoyed a four-home run day earlier this season. (Photo by Aldrin Capulong/Daytona Cubs)
The names might look familiar, but their placement among the top prospects only continues to rise. Earlier this week, Baseball Prospectus’ Jason Parks unveiled his Midseason Top 50 Prospects (subscription required). In his list, he included a trio of Cubs players in center fielder Albert Almora, shortstop Javier Baez and corner outfielder Jorge Soler. All three of the highly touted young players have enjoyed solid seasons of minor league ball this year, and as a result, have jumped in the ranks since Park’s preseason list. Below are the excerpts regarding the Cubs’ big three. It’s also worth noting that Parks mentioned on Twitter that 2013 first-round pick Kris Bryant would have likely made the list had he already signed with the club.
No. 15—CF Albert Almora
Placement on Preseason 101: 18
Current MiLB Level/Affiliate: Low-A Kane County
Prospect Trajectory: Up; Almora is a legit five-tool talent who comes with an incredible feel for the game; has top tier potential.
Major League ETA: 2015
No. 17—SS Javier Baez
Placement on Preseason 101: 20
Current MiLB Level/Affiliate: High-A Daytona
Prospect Trajectory: Up; has the offensive upside to become of the top prospects in the game; high risk and chance for regression at Double-A level.
Major League ETA: 2015
No. 31—OF Jorge Soler
Placement on Preseason 101: 36
Current MiLB Level/Affiliate: High-A Daytona
Prospect Trajectory: Up; Soler’s power is legit, and as he matures at the plate, he will continue to tap into the tool in game action; lacks elite upside, but could jump up the list if the power plays. People love power.
Major League ETA: 2015
(Photo by Jason Wise)
It has been a good week for Cubs’ 2012 first-round draft pick Albert Almora. After missing the early portion of the year with a broken hamate bone in his hand, Almora made his 2013 debut for the Class-A Kane County Cougars on May 22 and got off to such a fast start he was named the Midwest League Player of the Week.
In 26 at-bats, the 19-year-old outfielder hit .538 with five doubles, 14 hits, two walks and only two strikeouts. He logged four multihit efforts in his first seven games.
The Cubs made Almora the sixth overall selection in the 2012 draft. He spent the second half of last season with the Arizona rookie team and Short-Season Boise, where he combined to hit .321/.331/.464 with 12 doubles and two home runs in 140 at-bats.
(Photo by Jason Wise)
Albert Almora has always felt most comfortable when he’s on a baseball diamond. For the first time during the 2013 regular season, he’ll get that opportunity.
The Cubs’ 2012 first-round draft pick was transferred to Single-A Kane County on Wednesday after missing the first portion of the season with a broken hamate bone in his wrist. The sixth overall pick of last year’s draft entered the season as the organization’s second-best prospect and minor league baseball’s No. 33 overall prospect, according to Baseball America. The publication also lists Almora as the best hitter for average and the best defensive outfielder in the Cubs minor league system.
After signing with the Cubs in early July, he split time between the Arizona Rookie League and Short-Season Boise. In 33 combined games, the outfielder hit .321/.331/.464 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with 12 doubles in 140 at-bats.
Almora joins an impressive list of former first rounders to play for the Cougars including Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Joe Blanton.
(Photo by Jason Wise)
By now Cubs fans should know roughly where the organization’s top prospects stand when it comes to pitting them against the league’s best. Baseball stats website Baseball Prospectus unveiled its top 101 prospects Monday, which had a slight difference than its rival publication’s lists. The big four—Albert Almora, Javier Baez, Jorge Soler and Arodys Vizcaino—were all members of the list.
The surprise is that BP put Almora two spots ahead of Baez. While that shouldn’t at all come as a knock to the outfielder’s abilities, ESPN and Baseball America both had Baez largely ahead of the organization’s 2012 first round pick.
Almora came in at No. 18 overall, while Baez was 20th. Soler, the Cuban-born outfielder was ranked 36th, and power arm Vizcaino came in at No. 54.
Baseball Prospectus brought out its Cubs organizational rankings in November and predicted—amongst other things—the tools the player brings to the table, his fantasy future as well as where they feel the prospect will be in 2013. Below is the excerpt for each player.
Overall Rank: 18
Major League ETA: 2016
The Tools: Shows all five; plus projections on hit/power
Fantasy Future: .290/.350/.450 from premium defensive position, with 10-15 home run pop, plenty of doubles, and a chance to steal 15-20 bases at a high success rate.
The Year Ahead: Almora will most likely jump to full-season ball, where he will play the majority of the year as a 19-year-old. The highly praised hit tool will be tested by more advanced pitching, and the aggressive approach will need to refine to avoid exploitation. With now skills and advanced feel, Almora should continue to progress up the prospect ranks, and has a chance to emerge as a top tier player in the minors if the solid-average skill-set plays up beyond its projection.
Overall Rank: 20
Major League ETA: 2015
The Tools: Hit tool could be elite; easy plus-plus raw power; 7 arm
Fantasy Future: If everything clicks, Baez could hit for both a high average and high power (30-plus HR) from a position on the left side of the infield. He could be a monster.
The Year Ahead: Baez will most likely return to the Florida State League, where his aggressive approach led to weak contact and missed bats in his limited run in 2012. Pitchers at that level are equipped to expand the zone and sequence their arsenal, and Baez is a very see-ball, hit-ball type of hitter, so he will need to gain maturity with his approach to hitting; develop a plan at the plate. The raw talent could make him one of the best prospects in the minors, as he has the type of loud tools that impact games. But his overall approach is loose and hyperactive, and will need to find a balance between intensity and field intelligence to move forward.
Overall Rank: 36
Major League ETA: 2015
The Tools: Big raw power; plus arm
Fantasy Future: Could develop into a prototypical first-division right fielder; the hit tool might only play at average, but secondary skills should allow for some on-base ability and game power (25-20 HR). Shows good speed for his size and good game awareness, so he could also swipe 10-15 bases a season.
The Year Ahead: Soler was said to be ready for full-season ball out of the chute, and those reports proved to be accurate. The soon-to-be 21-year-old Cuban has plenty of bat speed and power characteristics in the swing (loft, back spin, etc.), but the present utility of the hit tool will be tested against better pitching, and the correctable hitches in the swing mechanics will need to be ironed out; Soler would often struggle to keep his hands inside and his early extension would leave him open to quality stuff on the inner half. If the hit tool is stronger than we are giving it credit for, the offensive upside will be very impressive, as Soler will profile as a middle-of-the-order force at the major-league level.
Overall Rank: 54
Major League ETA: 2011
The Tools: Plus-plus fastball; plus curve
Fantasy Future: Could be frontline setup arm in bullpen; closer for some teams; will miss bats in any role.
The Year Ahead: The return from Tommy John can be slow, and the command/control components are usually the last to arrive. If the raw stuff remains post-surgery, the Cubs can be patient with the fireballer until the control returns, leaving Vizcaino in Triple-A until he is ready to take the next step at the major-league level. While his role in 2013 will most likely be in a rotation, Vizcaino’s long-term role will most likely come in high-leverage situations out of the ‘pen, where his plus-plus heat and power curve have a chance to make him one of the better setup men in the game.
Cubs minor leaguers Albert Almora and Jorge Soler were both ranked on Baseball America‘s top 100 prospects list.
(Photo by Stephen Green)
February is the month when most baseball prospect lists are unveiled and displayed for all to see. On Tuesday afternoon, Baseball America released its Top 100 Prospects list—and gave Cubs fans another reason for optimism.
Slugging shortstop Javier Baez, currently in major league camp with the Cubs, heads the quartet of North Siders on the list, coming in at No. 16. The 2011 first-round pick played his first full season in 2012, hitting .294/.346/.543 (AVG/OBP/SLG) at two Single-A levels and mashing 16 home runs. He is the third-highest shortstop prospect on the list. Baseball America is the first major publication to put Baez ahead of Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor, a fellow shortstop picked one spot ahead of Baez in the 2011 draft. The publication also rated Baez the most exciting player in the Midwest League last season.
Last year’s first-round pick Albert Almora was ranked No. 33, one spot ahead of 2012 signee Jorge Soler. Almora joined an exciting Short-Season Boise squad late into the year and hit .292 in 65 plate appearances. The 18-year-old former Team USA player is heralded for his feel for the game, especially at such a young age.
Despite still assimilating himself to American culture after coming over from Cuba, Soler managed to crush Single-A pitching last year, hitting .338/.398/.513 in 80 at-bats in 2012. Known for his power at the plate and strong arm in the outfield, the massive 21-year-old projects to be a right fielder. Soler is currently working out with the major league squad in Mesa, Ariz., and is on the 40-man roster.
Arodys Vizcaino, who came over in the Paul Maholm trade with Atlanta last summer, rounds out the Cubs representatives at No. 83. This year marks the fourth straight time the right-hander has been ranked on Baseball America’s list. BA voted Vizcaino the organization’s best fastball and curveball after 2012, despite the fact that he missed the season recovering from Tommy John surgery. Though he will be eased back slowly, expect to see the power arm playing at Wrigley Field sooner rather than later.
The Cubs had four players on the list last year: Brett Jackson (32), Anthony Rizzo (47), Baez (61) and Matt Szczur (64).