Chicago Cubs center fielder Albert Almora Jr. did not live up to expectations in 2019. What’s next for the 25-year-old in 2020?
The Chicago Cubs Albert Almora Jr. has had huge exceptions his entire career in professional baseball. He was the first draft pick of the Cubs president for baseball operations Theo Epstein as he was the sixth pick in the 2012 draft.
Almora made his MLB debut on June 8th, 2016, against the Philadelphia Phillies, where he made a great playing throwing out a runner at home completing a double play. What looked to be a promising start for a young kid.
Almora had shown signs of progress throughout his young career. In his first year of full-time pro ball in 2017, Almora showed signs that he could be the Cub’s everyday center fielder for years to come. In 2017 Almora batted .298, eight home runs, 46 RBI’s, and an OPS+ of 100 in 323 plate appearances. Some decent number, but as we all know, Almora has been known for his glove more than his bat.
Almora saw much more action in 2018, where he was more of the everyday centerfielder still put up some good numbers. He batted .286, five home runs, 41 RBI’s, and an OPS+ of 86 in 479 plate appearances.
2019 saw Almora decline rapidly. Going into the season, the Cubs thought that Almora would be the everyday centerfielder and leadoff man. As the season played out, it was evident that would not be the case as Almora never got going, and the Cubs suffered. Almora batted .236 with 12 home runs, 32 RBI’s, and an OPS+ of 66 in 363 plate appearances. Almora also spent some time in Triple-A Iowa to figure some things out. A massive decline for the former first-round pick. Even Almora’s defense was down in 2019, as he posted a -0.1 WAR. I think it safe to say that is what no one expected.
Almora’s playing time drastically reduced as the season went on. After the Cubs made the trade for Nicholas Castellanos, Almora was a defensive replacement for the most part.
The question is what to do with Almora heading into 2020? He is expected to make $1.8 Million in 2020. The Cubs have a few options that they could take. They could hold on to Almora and hope that his 2019 was just a down year, and he improves in 2020.
The Cubs could non-tender Almora’s contract if they were serious about cutting money. Or they could look to trade Almora. Now I know Almora’s trade value is low, especially after last year, but I still do believe he has some. He still can play an outstanding center field, and maybe a change of scenery will help him get his career back on track.
I believe that the Cubs will hold on to Almora this offseason and hope that his 2019 was just a down year, and he will improve.