In a game full of highlights, we don’t want to let a cool milestone go without a special call out. As part of yesterday’s drubbing of the Reds, Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr. ripped a shot to right center field for the first home run of his big league career:



That wasn’t a cheapy, either – 404 feet, 103.4mph off the bat.

And Almora was awfully excited about that homer. He not only sprinted out of the box, as a player should on a ball headed toward the gap like that, but he didn’t really slow down when the ball left the park:

That’s awesome.

As for Almora, although he’s not best known for power potential, you can see it in his physicality – the raw power potential is there. But with his high-contact approach, he’s probably a guy with 15-homer upside, rather than 20 or 25. And, because he’s naturally so gifted at barreling the ball with authority, maybe he’s not a guy you want to see sacrificing contact for power, like you would with other players. Work with him on zone discipline and selective aggression, yes (which will have the byproduct of helping power production), but perhaps don’t also tinker with his swing to maximize loft at the expense of contact. I’m not a scout or a coach, so I’m speaking only anecdotally. I could be completely wrong. I guess I’m just happy to be happy about a different kind of offensive player, who could still be very productive for the Cubs in the coming years.



In his cup of coffee with the Cubs, Almora is hitting .286/.327/.449 (107 wRC+) through 52 plate appearances, which is actually just about the high end of what you can realistically hope for right now. The BABIP is high (.342), but if and when he really internalizes selective aggression at the plate (maybe he’s already getting there), he could be a high BABIP guy, given the line drive tendencies. The power is also high for him (.163 ISO), but that’s not an unrealistically high level either. He’s at a 5.8% walk rate and a 19.2% strikeout rate, each of which would probably come down for him over a larger sample, but neither of which is bad.

All in all, this has been a fantastic debut for a young man who is clearly uber-elite defensively, and also clearly has upside in his bat. When the crush of positional players returns from the DL (Tommy La Stella, Dexter Fowler, Jorge Soler), it’s hard to see Almora sticking on the big league roster for now, given his minor league options, but he’ll be back at some point in the year, and he’ll definitely contribute to the team. And then, from 2017 on, anything could happen.

Oh: Almora also made a nice diving catch in the game. But, you know, old hat.


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