We 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.