Chicago Cubs: Platoon play hurting Almora’s reputation?
Perhaps some people don’t think of Almora even as a starter on his own team. The Cubs have 10 everyday position players who can start any day depending on matchups, hot or cold streaks and health. In the outfield especially it is difficult to say who the starters really are.
During spring training this year it seemed that Ian Happ had locked up the leadoff spot in the batting order and that most days his defensive position would be center field. Even if you say that Almora is a starter and that Happ isn’t. Who do you say are the other two starters: Schwarber? Heyward? Zobrist?
Almora’s stats have no doubt benefited from platoon advantages. Many of Almora’s at bats have come against left-handed pitchers. It’s only recently that Almora is beginning to regularly start against right handed starting pitchers in favor of Happ and Zobrist. Perhaps those situations were held against him.
Almora isn’t even going to have the chance of getting in as part of the final vote. The National League candidates for that spot are Jesus Aguilar, Brandon Belt, Matt Carpenter, Max Muncy and Trea Turner.
However there is one other way that Almora might become an All-Star this season and that’s if he is named as a replacement for an injured player. Some Cubs players have made the All-Star team this way in previous years. For instance in 2008 Carlos Marmol replaced Kerry Wood when Wood was dealing with a blister on his pitching hand.