All the talk concerning the minor league system of the Chicago Cubs lately has revolved around star shortstop Javier Baez, who hit two game-winning home runs in as many nights last week.
Something that has slipped under the radar is the latest injury that has plagued Albert Almora, whose season could be in jeopardy following a recent hip flexor strain and groin injury.
“You’ve got to look at the big picture with him, and there are 17 days left,” Cubs’ Class A affiliate manager Mark Johnson said recently. “It’s something you want to be careful with. It’s not like a minor injury. It’s not a major injury by any means, but it’s something you’ve got to really look out for him and his best interests. Whatever it is has got to calm down, and when it calms down we’ll take another picture and see what’s doing.”
The injury has been described as a bone bruise in the groin area of the Kane County Cougars’ star center fielder, and with just 17 days left in the Class-A regular season, there stands a great chance that he has played his last game of the year.
Almora, the Cubs’ top pick from the 2012 Draft, has been on the disabled list since early August. He is batting .329 with 17 doubles in 61 games after joining the team in May. A broken bone in his hand derailed his season early on in Spring Training, but he has bounced back with a fervor in the following months.
According to Baseball America, Almora entered the 2013 campaign as Chicago’s #2 prospect, trailing only Javier Baez on the list. He was also named the best hitter for average and the best defensive outfielder in the organization, which both contributes to his likely spot on the 2016 startling lineup for Chicago.
Almora has quickly skyrocketed past former organizational standouts such as Brett Jackson, whose stock has plummeted due to plate discipline issues over the past few seasons. Baseball America projects Almora to partner with Jorge Soler and Jackson in 2016, but young shortstop-turned outfielder Junior Lake may force his way into the Cubs’ plans, as well.