Albert Almora and Jorge Soler are Roommates and Other Bullets

One more off-day before we get back to baseball. I’m headed to Chicago tomorrow, and to the game on Saturday (though I’m going with some old friends at SOI, so I won’t be in the bleachers). If he’s not dealt before then, I’ll get to see Ryan Dempster, perhaps for the last time at Wrigley Field.

  • The days after the All-Star Game are always ripe for retrospectives on the first half of the year, and prospectives on the second half. We’ve touched on most of the former (though here’s another: Carrie Muskat looks at the highs and lows of the first half), but there were plenty of the latter hitting the wire in the last day. Doug Padilla asks 10 questions about the Cubs’ second half, Patrick Mooney looks at a variety of subjects that will continue to play out, and Phil Rogers looks at 10 baseball-wide story lines for the second half.
  • The Cubs’ front office believes Dale Sveum has done a good job so far, according to Assistant to the GM Shiraz Rehman. ”He’s really an open-minded guy who tries to find different ways to skin a cat, which is what we try to do,” Rehman told Paul Sullivan. “Leave no stone unturned. The players have responded to him …. He has the right short- and long-term vision.” I love that last part, as I’m sure does the Cubs’ front office. Rehman added that Sveum has been “nothing but positive” in the eyes of the front office.
  • The Cubs took a minor league flyer on reliever Mike MacDougal earlier this year, but, after 19 appearances worth of ineffectiveness at AAA Iowa (7.85 ERA, 2.564(!) WHIP), the Cubs have cut MacDougal loose.
  • The Cubs officially announced Albert Almora’s signing, and the 18-year-old outfielder has already made his way to Mesa to start training for his season. While in Mesa, Almora is rooming with none other than Jorge Soler, the Cubs’ other young, big-time, recently-acquired outfield prospect. I can’t say how much I love that, even if it’s just for a short time in Mesa (it’s possible that Soler will eventually be assigned to Peoria, and Almora to Boise). Soler is adjusting to both professional baseball, life in the United States, and instant stardom within certain Cubs fan circles. I can’t think of a better kid whom he could align with than Almora, who’s not only a talented player (and they can learn from each other in that regard), but is also a great kid with great character. Hopefully they can work their way up through the system over the next couple/few years, become great friends, and make it to the bigs together. Wouldn’t that be a great story? The only way it could be greater is if, at some point, Jorge has to put tape down the middle of their room, indicating to Albert that one side is his, and the other is Jorge’s, leading to hilarious hijinx.
  • What would happen if you tried to hit a pitch thrown at 90% of the speed of light? The short answer: lots of bad things. The long answer is at that link, and it’s glorious.
  • Kerry Wood talks to Sarah Spain, but I see something creepy. I’m easily unnerved.
  • A Cubs choose your own adventure. Remember those books? They were awesome.
  • Dave Kaplan and Baseball America each offered a mid-season take on the Cubs’ minor leagues (with Kaplan’s being far more involved). Ronald Torreyes shows up as a disappointment on both (though if not for an absurdly low BABIP early in the year, he might be looking just fine right now (and let’s not forget: he’s one of the youngest players in the Florida State League – I’m actually not worried about him)), and Anthony Rizzo shows up as a top performer on both. BA notes that Arismendy Alcantara is a riser to BA, and is on Kaplan’s watch list.
  • Speaking of Alcantara, he features, together with Rock Shoulders, Taiwan Easterling, and Jae-Hoon Ha, on MILB’s Moniker Madness – which is exactly what it sounds like. Rock Shoulders, somehow, is merely a four seed. Among the top seeds: Caleb Bushyhead, Rougned Odor, Forrest Snow, and Duke von Schamann. My non-Cub favorite? A 10 seed, Kansas City farmhand Cheslor Cuthbert. Your fave?

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

101 responses to “Albert Almora and Jorge Soler are Roommates and Other Bullets”

  1. Luke

    From the Kaplan article:

    Aside from late round draft picks, Jed and Theo have yet to address the need for pitching down the road, which is something they will likely do in the offseason and future drafts.

    So… the supplemental first and the second rounds of the draft are now considered late rounds?

    I’m not sure I can construe Kaplan’s comment there to make any kind of sense.

  2. Edwin

    If they could get those books for the Kindle that would be sweet.

  3. John Moore

    What was the out-come of the Ian Stewart wrist surgery? Or was there any surgery?

  4. beerhelps

    The physics article made my brain hurt …. but in a good way.

  5. hansman1982

    “What would happen if you tried to hit a pitch thrown at 90% of the speed of light? The short answer: lots of bad things. The long answer is at that link, and it’s glorious.”

    From the link:
    “A careful reading of official Major League Baseball Rule 6.08(b) suggests that in this situation, the batter would be considered “hit by pitch”, and would be eligible to advance to first base.”

    “lots of bad things” is a highly subjective term. If this is the first batter in the inning then hopefully the pitcher could induce a ground ball on the next play and the baserunner would be a moot point. If it’s the bottom of the night and Marmol has walked the bases loaded, then yes, this would be bad thing and Marmol would have blown save #300 on the season.

    With Cubs fans luck, the scenario in the link will happen in the bottom of the 9th in game 4 of the 2013 WS were we are crushing the Red Sox 11-0 and lead the series 3-0.

  6. EQ76

    I’m actually good friends with Caleb Busheyhead. His family and my family are close and live about 2 miles from each other here in OK.

  7. Albert Almora and Jorge Soler are Roommates and Other Bullets … | Baseball News Report

    [...] second half. …. Find MLB tickets for less at TicketLiquidator. … See the rest here: Albert Almora and Jorge Soler are Roommates and Other Bullets … ← Carlos Quentin Trade Rumors: Indians Targeting Padres' Slugger [...]

  8. Sam

    Another underrated benefit to keep in mind is that Almora is bilingual. Simply a great decision by the FO

    1. Scotti

      This was likely a decision by the field staff. If the FO is busy making decisions on who bunks with whom then we are going to have big problems. Remember, the field staff is right there and, if perceptive, can pick upon things like who has an affinity, or strong dislike, for another player.

  9. Jack Weiland

    Was that tape thing a Perfect Strangers reference? If it wasn’t, lie to me and tell me it was. I will love you forever.

    Followed quickly, by the way, with a Choose Your Own Advernture shout out. Damn. Best. Bullets. Ever.

  10. Jack Weiland

    Moniker Madness: Smerling Latingua sounds like how you should dismissively pronounce a person named Sterling.

    Oh, PUH-LEASE, Sterling Smerling, give me a break.

    1. Jack Weiland

      My fav, for the record: #6 seed Jamodrick McGruder. No way that’s a real person. Pretty sure I wrote a short story in fifth grade in which the protagonist was exactly like me but named Jamodrick McGruder. Like, 90% sure.

    2. Jack Weiland

      Michael Goodnight reminds me of a funny story from work. I work for a very large company, and one day got an email from someone I didn’t know named “Jack Goodnight” … but in Outlook it came up as “Goodnight, Jack” … I was convinced for the rest of the day someone was going to murder me and this was their way of messing with me beforehand.

  11. Carew

    I am probably being bias, but come on, Rock Shoulders is a phenomenal name. Its like what Michael Stonebreaker was for football

  12. mul21

    I’m partial to Boomer Potts, but seriously, Rock Shoulders is possibly the best name ever and couldn’t possibly sound any more fictitious than it does. I liked Jamodrick McGruder too. He could be McGruber’s nemesis!

    1. Jack Weiland

      How the hell Nicholas Ballgod was a 16 seed is beyond me. I guess I picked an upset there …

    2. DocPeterWimsey

      I’ve written it before, but “Rock Shoulders” really sounds like a Marvel Comic book character. Hopefully his superpowers include all 6 tools…..

  13. andrew

    Damn, I thought Rock was his real name kinda dissapointing its just a nickname, and I think he deserves a lower seeding for it. My favorite has to be Kevin Quackenbush, too bad hes arismendy’s first opponent.

  14. 100 Years of Tears

    Socrates? Wyld Stallyns anyone? Excellent.

  15. Richard Nose

    I wanna throw a pitch 90% the speed of light to AJ Pierzinski.

  16. Kevin

    Between the minor league name thing and the physics article, these are some seriously CHOICE bullets.

    Also, I’m rooting for Boss Moanaroa because his name could most easily be given to a minor Star Wars villain.

    1. Richard Nose

      Choice bullets for sure. Definitely killing my productivity at work. Montreal Robinson for me.

  17. bluekoolaidaholic

    I saw Rock Shoulders hit a hr that went about a mile or so (yes, it had a stewardess on it, Crash), over the wall, out of the park, and out of the county. Of course what would you expect from someone with a name like that.
    I guess Dirk Diggler might do better.

  18. DocPeterWimsey

    So, does anybody else here think that Lyanna Stark is Forrest’s mother? Oh, wait: wrong Snow….

    1. Cubbie Blues

      It won’t matter when the dragons mature.

      1. DocPeterWimsey

        Well, three heads are better than one….. (But who daddy is will be important there!)

  19. Cheryl

    According to J. Callis the Marlins the Marlins won’t sign Andrew Hencey(sp?) What happens to him? cWhat happens to him? Can other clubs make an offer? It’s the Marlins who aren’t offering him the bonus recommended according to Callis, not Hencey (sp) turning it down.

    1. DocPeterWimsey

      Heaney (like Appel and Gausman if they do not sign) goes back into the draft pool for 2013.

      1. Carew

        What if they graduated from college? Could they be signed or do they have to wait the entire year? If so, thats kinda lame..

        1. DocPeterWimsey

          If college grads could simply sign with anyone if they did not take the draft offer, then all of the good college seniors would decline almost any draft offer and then sign with the Yankees for bigger $$$. (I.e., it would be just like the pre-draft days but with more money going to the players.)

          1. Carew

            oooohhh, ok, good point. I didnt think of that. Thanks

          2. Mick

            Wow, that’s BS, that gives a team complete bargaining leverage over any drafted college senior, so much for promoting education. There should be a penalty for going so far under slot like there is if a team goes so far over slot to sign a guy. I mean, this could potentially ruin the kid’s career by sitting out a year.

            1. MaxM1908

              I feel like there should be some kind of exception to the draft rules. Like a 75% rule or something for the first ten rounds. If a team doesn’t offer at least 75% of slot, the player becomes a free agent. Not sure what the percentage should be to make it reasonable, but I don’t like teams screwing with players like that.

              1. cubchymyst

                There were probably a lot of college seniors taken rounds 7-10 who probably weren’t offered 75% of the slot bonus so that teams could go over slot on other players. A 75% rule would really limits teams ability to give certain players more money.

            2. DocPeterWimsey

              The teams have always had huge bargaining leverage over college seniors; they’ve just given themselves a bit more. From the perspective of the players, the draft is ethically dubious at best. However, remember that when the draft was initiated, baseball had just experienced a prolonged period of dominance by a single team, and that the sport was suffering a major decline in popularity partly because of that.

      2. Cheryl

        Thanks. From the sound of it the Marlins didn’t even come close to the slot recommendation. So it looks like he’s stuck until next year.

        1. DocPeterWimsey

          Unless they closed the “loophole” post-JDDrew I think that they can play in independent leagues. There are not a lot of $$$$ in that, but it keeps them playing against (roughly) college level competition.

          1. Cheryl

            What if the kid makes it clear he doesn’t want to be drafted, then he could sign as a free agent after say five or six months? Is that possible? There are kids that can sign as free agents if they aren’t drafted. It just seems like clubs have too much powere here.

            1. Cheryl

              Sorry for the words that are repeated or misspelled I’m having probems with my computer

            2. DocPeterWimsey

              Undrafted players can sign as free agents, but drafted ones cannot. A US born amateur player does not become a free agent until a draft comes and goes without somebody drafting him.

              Matt Harrington was drafted 4 or 5 years running, and did not become a free agent until a year went by with nobody drafting him. Of course, at that point, he was washed up, anyway.

              But, again, if you let guys become free agents before the next draft, then there is absolutely nothing to stop them from all signing with the Yankees. That is basically what the draft was designed to prevent.

              1. Cheryl

                Like so many things they solved one problem but created another.

                1. Mick

                  This was posted in today’s Keith Law chat on

                  Thoughts on Andrew Heaney not coming to terms with Miami over $200K?

                  Klaw (1:21 PM)

                  We’ll see if this holds through the deadline, but if Jim Callis’ report that the Marlins are refusing to even offer their recommended slot bonus is true, then I would think Heaney should have some recourse, whether it’s a grievance or a lawsuit.

                  1. bbmoney

                    Lots of guys have signed for “underslot”, heck the #1 pick in the draft did. I doubt he’d have any kind of case.

                  2. Featherstone

                    He has no recourse. Look at the first pick overall Carlos Correa. The slot value recommendation for his slot was 7.2 million, The Astros signed him for 4.8 million, well under his slot value. They drafted him first because they knew they could sign him under slot and that was part of their strategy. The Marlins aren’t required to offer slot to the player they draft thats just a guideline.

                    1. Featherstone

                      Furthermore, under this new cba, not signing your first round pick seems like it could be disastrous. The entire slot value is removed from your pool. Yikes

                    2. Featherstone

                      Brett: Do you think Gausman or Appel signs?

                    3. Cubbie Blues

                      Having that money could either hurt or help. It all depends. The Cubs spent over the slot recommendation. That over money had to come from somewhere. Where did it come from? It came from slot money later in the draft. Now, if they had paid under slot on Almora then they would have had more money to sign some of the harder to sign players later in the draft. It only hurts if you would have signed your selection for under slot.

                    4. Featherstone

                      I agree with you except the fact that the Cubs knew Almora was never going underslot and very likely to be overslot. They were in love with this kid and I think they would have taken him first overall if they were in that position. The cubs knew for a fact that Almora was going to be expensive so they drafted college seniors with no leverage in the later rounds so they could save money by signing them underslot. Then with the money accumulated from the underslot deals they put that in front of Almora and said, “Hey this is literally all we have left.” Very wise by the Cubs indeed.

                    5. Featherstone

                      Gausman should absolutely sign and probably will. I’m not so certain about Appel, many had him going 1st overall pre-draft and when he fell to 8th im sure he didnt appreciate that. I ultimately think his pride and of course the money prevent him from signing, but if the Pirates do get him to sign they got a great pickup out of the 8th overall. Very risky though.

                  3. Luke

                    I have no idea what Law is thinking. I don’t think the players union would agree with that.

                    1. Cheryl

                      When I first saw the article I thought there was much more of a difference than $200,000. I don’t think Heaney’s going to get much sympathy.

        2. MaxM1908

          Does anyone know where Miami stands with respect to their spending limits? Couldn’t Heaney affect their limits by removing the slot value from their total pool? At that point, you’d figure they might as well just offer him slot.

  20. Ash

    So we have Jokisch to look forward to in Double A. How did that name not make the MILB moniker madness list?

  21. PRcajun

    Gotta go with Rougned Odor…I know, I know, complete shock pick.

    Still some other good ones (Zelous Wheeler, Gauntlett Eldemire, Yeixon Ruiz, Gift Ngoepe..and c’mon… how’bout, Danny-Oh!!!!!!

    Funny thing is that being Hispanic and growing up in an island I saw many names like these growing up. I know folks named Usnavy (from US Navy) and Usmail (from US mail)…I know kids named Jason spelled about 5 diff ways (…like Yeixon above) and plenty of kids named Shaquille, Jordan, and even Magic!!!!

    Now as an educator in southeast GA I get some unbelievable names for students in my classes each term.

  22. Shawn H

    Cheslor Cuthbert sounds like a bad guy, cattle baron in a “B” western.

  23. Mick

    2011 Player A-.244BA 26HRs 88RBIs
    2011 Player B-.272BA 17HRs 55RBIs

    2012 Player A-.265BA 15HRs 48RBIs
    2012 Player B-.295BA 23HRs 58RBIs

    Player A is Soriano and B is Edwin Encarnacion. Encarnacion just signed a 3 year extension worth $9/year plus a $10 option on a 4th. There’s got to be some trade value for Soriano if the Cubs are also willing to pay the majority of the contract, right?

    1. Myles

      I agree 150%.

      1. Edwin


    2. Ted

      Not entirely clear to me why a worse-performing much-older player is being compared to Encarnacion, but I do agree on the thesis! Makes little sense to me why no one wants Soriano for free.

  24. DocPeterWimsey

    Compare them again the way that the GMs will compare them:
    A 2011: .244/.289/.469
    B 2011: .272/.334/.453

    A 2012: .265/.323/.469
    B 2012: .295/.382/.565

    Yeah, that’s a difference of 0.16 in OPS for this season, which is huge. (That’s the average difference between the Yankees and the Twins.) Even for last year, it was a difference of 0.03.

    Add to this that Encarnacion plays a “skill” position (3B) and Sori does not, and this does not really make Sori look marketable as a comparison.

    1. Featherstone

      C’mon Doc, Can’t let the facts get in the way of a good narrative.

    2. Mick

      Encarnacion has only played 37 games at 3B over the last 1 1/2 seasons and if he hit free agency at the end of this season, would have signed to be a team’s DH or 1B. The reason I compared these two players was because they have similar power numbers, bat right-handed, and are basically useless in the field. There’s definately a need for power right handed bats and now that Encarnacion is off the market at $9mil/season, Soriano at $3mil/season starts to look more attractive. I was just trying to shine hope where hope hasn’t shined before.

      1. DocPeterWimsey

        That’s true, but that has a lot to do with the emergence of Brett Lawrie. Encarncion is not a great 3Bman: but you can play him there. I should have phrased my post differently: Encarnacion can play some skill positions if you need him to do so.

  25. Cub Gone Wild

    Great Baseball discussions on here today

  26. Ogyu

    What would happen if SUPERMAN tried to hit a pitch thrown at 90% of the speed of light?

    1. Luke

      The same thing. Superman’s eyes would receive the information that the ball had left the pitchers hand a very small fraction of a second before the ball reached the plate. I strongly suspect his neurons would not have the time to pass that information on to his brain before the expanding cloud of fusion powered ball debris hit him.

      1. Noah

        Although, unless the ball was made of kryptonite, Superman would survive it just fine.

        1. MaxM1908

          I disagree. Superman is definitely superior to humans in his ability to fend off normal weaponry, but I highly doubt he is invincible to the point of withstanding fireball of superhot, fusion-reaction plasma. According to his wikipedia entry, Superman has an “incredibly dense body structure that could be pierced by nothing less than an exploding artillery shell.” I assume the atomic reaction caused by a baseball going 90% the speed of light would create a force greater than an exploding artillery shell and disintegrate Superman in the process.

          1. Noah

            Well, that would probably depend on which Superman you used. As the eras have gone by, how nigh invulnerable Superman is has changed as well. There are times where he can clearly be hurt, and times where he’s essentially a god and cannot be. I have no idea about the current incarnation.

          2. Spriggs

            You should NEVER underestimate Superman. Or the Rifleman. Never.

            1. MaxM1908

              I don’t think it takes anything away from Superman to suggest he cannot survive an atomic explosion…after all, he’s no Indiana Jones.

              1. Spriggs

                But remember that Superman easily reversed the earth’s rotational spin. And that was one of the weaker Superman figures. Just think about what one of the really strong Superman figures would do to a tiny fireball.

                And then think about how devastating the Rifleman would be in the same situation!

                1. MaxM1908

                  1. Strength and vulnerability are two very different subjects. Vulnerability to an atomic explosion does not detract from Superman’s strength. It simply acknowledges that despite his strength, he can be incinerated.

                  2. I would hardly call a molten plasma field caused by atomic fusion a “tiny fireball.”

  27. Featherstone

    Im sure Brett will make a post about it later, but Keith Law just revised his top 50 prospect list and 3 cubs have cracked the list. Baez #35, Almora #47, Soler #50. I still find it absolutely crazy that since Theo/Jed have taken over the Cubs have added 3 (Rizzo would have made that list for sure.) top 50 prospects in baseball. Talk about building from within starting with the farm.

    1. The Man. The Legend. The RBI King: Hack Wilson

      as great as that is; I find it hard to list any player who has not even taken a professional at-bat like soler or almora and even baez has limited at-bats into a list like that……see karl pagel, earl cunningham, ryan harvey, mark pawlek, felix pie, corey patterson, ty griffin, kevin orie, and on and on and on………remember mike piazza will be a HOF soon and he was a 50th round pick; let alone a top 50.

  28. Featherstone

    Oh sure, I know the likelihood of any of them reaching the majors, let alone become all star caliber players, is low. But when was the last time we had a farm system this strong? Perceived value has value in itself.

    1. Kyle

      2003. It hasn’t even been 10 years.

      1. Featherstone

        And look where it got them, even though we fell woefully short of winning it all. It has produced some of the best cubs teams in a long time.

  29. Diesel

    I love the choose your own adventure books. In December j found some star wars themed ones that I got my nephew for Christmas. It was glorious