LOS ANGELES, Calif – Albert Almora Jr. was 22 years old when he broke into the big leagues on June 7, 2016, with the Chicago Cubs.
As a prized prospect, he was drafted in 2012, by the Cubs in the first round, 6th overall.
Through his minor league career, totaling 405 games, he batted .290 (471-for-1,622) with 100 doubles, 16 triples, 24 home runs and 191 RBI.
Almora Jr. was named by Baseball America as the organization’s third-best prospect entering the 2017 season. This is something that is not new to him as in previous seasons he was the sixth-best prospect heading into 2016, the seventh-best prospect heading into 2015, the fourth-best prospect heading into 2014 and the second-best prospect heading into 2013.
In that 2013 season, Almora Jr. was selected by the organization to play in the Arizona Fall League. This is where all top prospects play from October to the beginning of November. It’s a great way for organizations to gauge their prospects against other top prospects.
On his ability shown at the minor league, and now the major league level, Almora Jr shared the following with me. “I’m a confident player. I trust my abilities. I trust what I can do on the baseball field. Whenever I’m given the chance to play, I’m really not trying to do too much. I’m just trying to help the team, whether that may be a righty or lefty.”
Although it has been limited, Almora Jr. has shown success at the major league level batting .292 (120-for-411) with 11 home runs and 60 RBI.
In the first 47 games to start his major league career and his debut in 2016, he was (31-for-112) with a .277 average with three home runs and 11 RBI.
Coming full circle, Almora Jr. finds himself playing in the NLCS and contributing. In game one of the NLCS, he was batting fifth against the Dodgers Clayton Kershaw. In his second at-bat, he hit a two-run home run off him in the fourth inning for the first runs of the game, and his teams only runs of the game.
He shared his thoughts on hitting a home run in the playoffs and against Kershaw. “It’s special, obviously. I respect Clay (Clayton Kershaw). He’s probably one of the best pitchers in the game right now. Obviously, in the moment in this stadium (Dodger Stadium) so much history here, it’s a pretty surreal moment. Obviously, I’m not trying to do that there. He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, and I think I hit one of them.”
Will this be something you will never forget? Almora Jr. replied, “Obviously, it’s something that I’m going to be able to share with my kids and grandkids later on. It’s going to be something that’s going to be with me for a long time.”
His manager Joe Maddon is impressed with Almora Jr. and went on to share his thoughts.” He’s been swinging the bat really well. He just hits lefties. Albert’s done a nice job at that. If you look at his numbers during the course of the season he’s pretty much been that guy. Although he’s gotten better against righties more recently. He’s playing at a really high level. He’s slowed the game down. Albert moving forward will be a really really good everyday Major League Baseball player.”
I asked him about the confidence his manager has shown in him.” I’m happy that skip has confidence in me in these un these situations. This is what I strive to be. I want to be a big part of this organization, hopefully for a long time, and hopefully, win a lot of ballgames for these guys.”