Chicago Cubs: Pros and cons of Albert Almora playing center field

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

We all assumed the Chicago Cubs’ center field job is Albert Almora’s for the taking. After a year of sharing the role with others, is 2018 the year he stakes his claim?

After Dexter Fowler left for St. Louis in the winter of 2016, it was widely assumed that the Chicago Cubs’  Albert Almora was the heir to the throne, so to speak, for center field on the North Side. Last season, Almora platooned with Jon Jay and Ian Happ out there center. Now, with no Jon Jay, center field is his position to lose. What exactly are the Cubs getting out there?


  • Glove-first: Ever since being drafted sixth overall in 2012, the scouting report on Almora has been that he is a defensive first center fielder who can go get it. We saw that in flashes last year, as he made some highlight reel catches. Most notably, he robbed Corey Seager twice in the same game. Another great catch came against Brandon Belt.  Almora has proven he can play center in the majors.

More from Cubbies Crib

  • Experience: This isn’t just a rookie being thrown into the fire. AA has been in the major leagues since 2015, and he was even on the playoff roster for the Cubs’ World Series run. If people don’t remember, he scored the go-ahead run in Game 7 of the World Series in Cleveland.
  • Versatility: While Almora will be the starting center fielder, he can also play the corner outfield positions at an above-average level. Not only is he versatile in the field, but he is also only going to be just 24 in 2018. He has his best years ahead of him, and he can only get better.


  • Lack of range: While he can play center at a pretty good clip, Almora doesn’t have the range of the elite center fielders in the game, like the Cain’s/Kiermaier’s/Jackie Bradley‘s of the world. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s bad in the outfield. He just doesn’t have the ceiling of those elite fielders.

Next: Arrieta's massive contract?

  • Who is he? Ever since he came up, nobody has known what kind of player Almora will be, offensively. He crushes lefties, posting a .342/.411/.486 slash against lefties in 2017. Against righties, it was .271/.291/.420. He is markedly a better hitter against lefties, and that’s about the only certainty in his offensive game.

Is he going to develop more power? Walk more? There is still so much to discover about Almora’s game, and playing every day in 2017, the Cubs will learn so much more.