Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Did You "Catch" the News?

The bad news - Jorge Soler aggravated his bum hamstring, which has bothered him on and off for a couple years now, while running the bases after lining a base hit in last night's win over the Phillies.  Seeing as hamstrings are notoriously finicky and a minor tweak can easily become a devastating injury (speaking as someone who has torn their's), it appears as though the Cubs will need an alternative to their alternative energy source, as #SolerPower will be (more than likely) restricted to the 15-day DL.

The good news - if Jorge get's DL'ed, Albert Almora is going to get his first taste of the Show.  Lost in the hype of Baez, Bryant, Schwarber and even Soler himself, Almora will be the latest top prospect to make their way up to the top of the ladder.

TheoJed's first, first round draft selection in 2012 has been relatively slow-developing.  On one hand, Albert's defense has been absolutely phenomenal and, honestly, has probably been Major League ready for over a year now.  His glove work in the outfield has drawn pretty much nothing but rave reviews from scouts and fans alike and who can blame them when he makes acrobatic catches such as this:

or this:

or THIS:

Seriously, the man is an artist and his glove is his paintbrush.  Just type in "Albert Almora catch" on YouTube... you could get lost for hours.

On the other hand, Albert has been pretty hit or miss with the bat.  Literally, he recently went a calendar month without taking a single walk and his aggressive approach doesn't necessarily blend in with this patient Cubs team.  Additionally, his power has failed to develop as hoped thus far (only 23 dingers in 5 MiLB seasons) and his average has hovered around .270 over the past couple campaigns.

All in all, due to his highlight-reel ready glove, it appears as though Almora's bottom floor is a defensive specialist, fourth outfielder.  However, if the bat comes around to even average production in the Majors (he's still only 22, after all), he can be a starting centerfielder for a long time to come.  With Dexter Fowler likely to depart once this season has concluded, it's important that the team get a peak at what he can do.

The outfield in Chicago has been an infirmary so far in 2016, with the season-ending knee injury to Kyle Schwarber, the hamstring aggravation for Matt Szczur and the lingering wrist problems for Jason Heyward.  The fact that the club is STILL performing historically well despite all of this is a testament to this team's depth and resiliency.  While that may be, I'd still like to see Soler healthy in the minimum 15 days; at some point, the straw is going to break the camel's back.

In the meantime, I'm guessing the Cubs will either play Albert as the starter in center, with Fowler pushed to left, or as the first outfielder off of the bench with Kris Bryant slotting into left and Javy Baez taking over the hot corner; I'm leaning towards the latter though. We shall see how Joe chooses to deploy the young man.

Here's hoping that he seizes the moment - good luck and welcome to the show, Albert!  Oh and welcome to my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection binder, as well.


  1. Honestly, I hope Jorge is back ASAP, because he was just starting to heat up over the last two or three weeks. He's a much better hitter than what he has shown so far in 2016.
    Almora can then be sent back to AAA to work on the holes that MLB pitching will expose in his offensive game during those two weeks. Oh, and he has some holes... he has an uncanny ability to make contact on almost any pitch, but that often times results in weak contact. He needs to learn to let some of those go by and take his walks. He has taken ONE walk since April. One.

  2. The Cubs have so much depth that it can hide just about any flaw. As long as that pitching staff continues to pitch as well as it has you could win games with the Braves lineup.

  3. The great teams seem have the "next man up" attitude and have the talent to keep going. A testament to Cubs management that so far this team has it. Hopefully there will be no "last straw". Can you believe a 10 game lead?

  4. You guys totally need Brett Gardner. It's no biggie. You can have Brett Gardner and Andrew Miller. We'll even throw in Michael Pineda. The Yankees will just take Gleyber Torres and Ian Happ in return.