As we’re just two weeks away from the MLB Trade Deadline, we’re looking at some of the biggest MILB prospect names that will be brought up by MLB GMs. Not saying any of these guys will be traded, but all of them will be talked about. Some are actually on the table; others are not.
Albert Almora passes the eye test before he even swings the bat. And he has the tools too. You can see why he had a $3.9 million signing bonus after being taken 6th overall in the 2012 MLB Draft. This kid can hit; his swing is pretty sweet and fluid. His bat will get him to the Chicago Cubs sooner rather than later. He also has the art of being a boring soundbite down. He’s Major League ready when it comes to giving you nothing but useless cliches in interviews.
Given how terrible the Cubs are right now, and the fact that their total tear down means 2015 is the EARLIEST this team will be competitive, I advise you to make the drive out to Geneva, IL. This is the first year the Chicago Cubs have the Kane County Cougars as their affiliate for Low-A. With that, fans of the Chicago Cubs have a chance to see some of the best and brightest talent in the organization just an hour, ten minutes (without major traffic) drive outside of Chicago. The Cubs farm system is loaded.
Javier Baez is ranked the #13 prospect in all of baseball. He was just promoted from Daytona to Double-A Tennessee, so his spot could be filled by Almora soon. He would join currently injured Jorge Soler, the #36 in baseball, 3rd overall in the Cubs system. And yes, watching Low A baseball is WAY BETTER than watching the ESPYs. No question.
The Chicago Cubs first round, second overall pick Kris Bryant could be with the Cougars some time in August. Rock Shoulders sounds like he should be the star player on the Flintstones, not the KC Cougars, but he’s a DH worth watching at Kane County too. Obviously, he’ll have to get traded to the AL or become a regular position player to reach the big show.
Back to Albert Almora, he was USA Baseball’s athlete of the year after leading the 18 and under team to a 9-0 record and being named the tournament MVP. He has excellent bat speed and can drive the ball to all fields. Albert Almora is only an okay defensive center fielder, but he has good range and a strong arm to work with. Beyond his physical skills, Almora’s top tools are his instincts and his makeup, both of which are off the charts and allow his already-impressive abilities to play up even more.
So who does Albert Almora compare to? “In the draft, they said Ryan Braun and Adam Jones,” he said.
And who is his role model?
“Derek Jeter, it’s awesome what he’s done on and off the field, I definitely look up to him,” he responded.
Albert Almora could also work on his plate discipline, as well as his fielding. Around 2015ish I could see Albert Almora in a MLB role as a speed/on-base guy. He could be a future Major League table setter.
“He’s a pro’s pro and goes about his business the right way, he stays within his game and getting better daily,” said Kane County Cougars Manager and former Chicago White Sox Catcher Mark Johnson.
For the prospect profile/exclusive interview with Almora’s roommate/fishing buddy Dan Vogelbach.
Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. He’s also an analyst for 95.7 The Fan, and reports on Chicago sports media for Chicago Now. President Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)