While the Chicago Cubs attempt to catch up with the first place Cincinnati Reds, things are looking great. In fact, this lineup turned out to be better than expected following an eventful offseason.
When Dexter Fowler left the Chicago Cubs, not only did it sting but it left a hole on the depth chart. Especially because he left for a new home with the St. Louis Cardinals. However, St. Louis is struggling to find their footing to begin the year.
When Fowler left, it opened the door for young outfielder Albert Almora Jr. who was eager to take the spotlight. While serving as depth for the Cubs in 2016, Almora learned a lot from Fowler, even gave him high praise.
These two battled it out in the opening series to begin the year. During that series, Almora robbed Matt Adams of a home run to dead center.
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The 22-year-old let his emotions run wild, pumping up the rest of his team as Kyle Schwarber celebrated with him along the way. So, just how well is Almora playing? Actually, he’s playing excellent baseball.
After a fantastic spring which was headlined by four home runs and 16 RBI, Almora hit the ground running. Now, he has shown signs of a promising player dating back to October and in Game 7 of the World Series.
His diving play in right field against the Giants and heads-up baserunning against the Indians had us excited for the future. I mean, if it wasn’t for him tagging up on a Kris Bryant routine fly, who knows how long the game would have gone on.
Or better yet, the outcome of the game itself. A simple play made by a rookie helped put the Cubs ahead, eventually winning the World Series. Surely, he will never forget that moment.
In 2017, he’s making bigger plays. Not to take away from anything he has done for the Cubs in previous appearances. From the Matt Adams robbing to stealing potential extra bases from Corey Seager twice on the same day — this young man is flashing some serious Gold Glove like defense.
Although he’s off to a great start, the fact that Jason Heyward has picked up a few starts in center field could prevent him from winning hardware – for now. Cubs’ skipper Joe Maddon wants to be able to have both Ben Zobrist and Javier Baez in the lineup at the same time.
So, that means Heyward moves over to center while Zobrist takes over in right, leaving second base to Baez. But this shouldn’t discourage him or anyone else who wants to see this kid succeed.
There will be plenty of time to win a Gold Glove or two. Hopefully, it’s with a Cubs uniform on his back. Either way, I love watching this kid make plays.