Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

major award leg lamp trophyWe kept telling you that Albert Almora, Jr. was blistering hot of late, and now there’s an honor to confirm it.

The 21-year-old center fielder was named today by the Chicago Cubs as its player of the month for August. All Almora did in August was hit .352/.413/.504 while playing his typical highlight-reel defense in center, stringing together TWO hitting streaks of 13 games (technically, the second spilled over to September 1).

In the process, Almora increased his season line to .276/.330/.406 (107 wRC+), with a 7.0% walk rate and a tiny 10.4% strikeout rate, each of which is the best mark of his career over a full season. All while playing as one of the youngest players in the Southern League. Some didn’t want to believe that 2014 was a development year for Almora, but he gone a long way this season to quieting the doubters. I look forward to seeing him take additional steps next year (when you watch him, you can see the untapped power potential).

On the pitching side, 20-year-old Oscar De La Cruz gets the nod as the pitcher of the month, and I’m instantly regretting not yet having a chance to publish the profile Michael recently wrote on him. We’ll get that out soon.

De La Cruz is in his first state-side season, and posted a 2.73 ERA over 29.2 innings in August, striking out 32 and walking just 5. On the year, the big righty has a 2.84 ERA and 3.17 FIP over 73.0 innings, with a 25.2% strikeout rate and a 5.9% walk rate. He came in for some praise during Kiley McDaniel’s most recent chat, and is definitely a guy to watch next year in South Bend and/or Myrtle Beach.

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