By: Shane Miller
Almora was drafted sixth overall by the Chicago Cubs in 2012. The 18-year-old had a good freshman season playing between two levels, rookie ball and low-A. He hit a combined .321 average, two home runs, 19 RBIs and five stolen bases.
While Minnesota Twins outfielder Byron Buxton was getting hyped as the best outfielder in this class, Almora wasn't far behind. The youngster has great bat speed and can drive the ball to all fields. As he matures he should be able to develop more power. The outfielder also touts a polished approach to the plate and the most patient batter I've seen from this draft class. He also has great arm strength in the outfield and should project well as the Cubs future center fielder.
Almora still has a lot of room in his frame, standing at 6'2 170 pounds. He would benefit from adding some weight and strength to increase his power numbers. His hands can get out of sync with his leg kick at times but usually this isn't a problem for him. On the other hand Almora plays amazing defense up the middle and has instincts I've never seen from an 18-year-old outfielder.
The Cubs will not rush this gem through the system but expect to see him finish in High-A this year. This youngster projects to be a Michael Bourn type player for the Cubs. I expect him to hit around .345 average, 10 to 15 home runs, 70 to 80 RBIs and steal 25 to 30 bags.
Follow Shane Miller @ShaneMiller27 and catch the podcast he co-hosts The Vig & Miller Show on Tuesdays from 7 PM EST to 9 PM EST