Chicago Cubs: Almora struggling on both sides of the ball
Almora is slashing .242/ .275/ .398 through 112 games. For a player that does not produce home runs or drive in many runs, these numbers are unacceptable. An OPS sitting at .671 does little to nothing for a first-place ball club.
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What has kept Almora fans and Cubs fans hopeful is his incredible work in center field. We all can remember the highlight reel plays over the years. He is regarded as one of the best in the league. This year the metrics and the eyeball test say otherwise.
Rtot is generally accepted as the best way to evaluate defensive play. In 2017, Almora earned a 4 Rtot. In 2018, a 14. Those numbers would put him at an above average defender in 2017 and an excellent player in 2018.
But this season, he has earned a -13 Rtot, which represents horrific defensive play. I don’t believe this number to be an exact depiction of Almora’s defense in 2019, but it shows a pretty clear regression.
Even watching Almora has become frustrating as of late. He seems disinterested and sloppy. On Saturday night against the Cincinnati Reds, Almora had a couple of defensive hiccups and one error in the 10-1 loss. The two hiccups he made were fairly difficult plays, but plays that I expect him to make.
One was a ball over his head in center that he managed to get glove on and drop, and the other was a shallow pop fly that popped out of his mitt. Both difficult catches, but ones this guy makes in years past. The error came on a single up the middle that was bobbled on the exchange from glove to hand, resulting in an extra base.