Albert Almora Jr.
Almora in 2013
New York Mets – No. 4
Center fielder
Born: (1994-04-16) April 16, 1994 (age 27)
Hialeah Gardens, Florida
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
MLB debut
June 7, 2016, for the Chicago Cubs
MLB statistics
(through September 10, 2021)
Batting average.265
Home runs28
Runs batted in134
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Reinaldo Albert Almora Jr. (born April 16, 1994) is an American professional baseball center fielder for the New York Mets of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the Chicago Cubs.

Amateur career

Almora attended Mater Academy Charter School in Hialeah Gardens, Florida. In 2011, Almora was named USA Baseball's athlete of the year after leading the 18 and under team to a 9–0 record and being named the tournament MVP. He played on six national teams while in high school, tying a record.[1] He won the USA Baseball Richard W. "Dick" Case Player of the Year Award in 2011.[2][3] He committed to play college baseball at the University of Miami.[4]

Professional career

Draft

The Chicago Cubs selected Almora in the first round, with the sixth overall selection, in the 2012 MLB draft out of Mater Academy Charter School. He signed with the Cubs, receiving a $3.9 million signing bonus. MLB.com ranked Almora as the second-best prospect in the Cubs organization in 2013,[5] and the 39th ranked prospect in all of baseball.

Minor leagues

Almora with the Chicago Cubs during spring training in 2014
Almora with the Chicago Cubs during spring training in 2014

Almora spent 2012 with both the AZL Cubs and Boise Hawks, batting .321 with two home runs and 19 RBIs in 33 games. He played for the Kane County Cougars in 2013. He had a .329 batting average in 61 games played, as he missed time due to injury. After the 2013 season, the Cubs assigned Almora to the Arizona Fall League to gain more experience.[5][6] In 2014, he played for the Daytona Cubs and Tennessee Smokies where he slashed .270/.291/.392 with nine home runs and 60 RBIs in 125 games.

Almora spent 2015 back with the Smokies where he batted .272 with six home runs and 46 RBIs in 106 games. He began 2016 with the Iowa Cubs. At Iowa prior to being called up, he was batting .318 in 54 games.

Chicago Cubs

2016

Almora was promoted to the Cubs on June 7, 2016 when Jorge Soler was placed on the disabled list.[7] He made his first MLB career start in left field on June 8, 2016 against the Philadelphia Phillies[8] and on his first fielding opportunity threw out a runner at home to complete a double play. The following day, he got his first major league hit.

On November 2, 2016, in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, Almora took over as a pinch runner for Kyle Schwarber, the Cubs designated hitter who opened the top of the 10th inning with a lead-off single to right. Almora advanced to second base on a rare tag-up play from first base thanks to a deep fly ball out hit by Kris Bryant. After Cleveland Indians pitcher Bryan Shaw intentionally walked Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, Almora scored the go-ahead 7th run for the Cubs off of a double by Ben Zobrist. The Cubs went on to win the game 8-7, earning their first World Series victory since 1908 thanks in part to Almora's baserunning skill.[9]

2017

In 132 games, Almora finished the season with a .298 batting average, eight home runs, and 46 RBIs. He also changed the name on the back of his jersey from 'Almora Jr.' to just 'Almora.’

2018

On April 22, in an away game against the Colorado Rockies, Almora made three leaping catches in center field; in the first, second and ninth innings of the Cubs' 9–7 win.[10] Almora finished his 2018 campaign batting .286 with five home runs and 41 RBIs in 152 games. He was the final out of the 2018 NL Wild Card Game against Colorado, struck out by Scott Oberg to end the 13 inning, 2–1 Rockies victory.[11]

2019

Almora opened the 2019 season on Chicago's 25-man roster.[12]

2020

Almora opened the 2020 season on Chicago's 26-man Opening Day roster but was optioned to the alternate training site, located in South Bend, Indiana. Before being sent down, Almora was platooning with Ian Happ, who the Cubs named their starting centerfielder.[13] Almora was hitting .167 with five hits in 30 at-bats. He was optioned when the Cubs received Cameron Maybin from the Detroit Tigers. On December 2, Almora was non-tendered by the Cubs.[14]

New York Mets

Almora signed a one-year deal with the New York Mets on February 10, 2021.[15] On May 12, 2021, Almora was placed on the ten-day injured list after running full speed into the outfield wall at Citi Field the night before.[16]

Personal life

Almora's father, Albert Sr., played baseball in Cuba before he defected to the United States.[5] Almora began training with his father when he was three years old. Albert is so close to Manny Machado that Almora considers him to be his cousin, though they are not related by blood. Machado was quoted as saying that he would love to play with Almora and win a World Series together, a dream they had as kids.[1][5]

Almora married former Philadelphia 76ers and Philadelphia Flyers dancer Krystal Gregorio on July 21, 2016.[17] Their first child, a son named A.J., was born in August 2016.[18]

Almora chose "Tico" as his nickname for the Players Weekend during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.[19] He says that the nickname was given to him as a child for his rowdy nature.

References

  1. ^ a b "Prep star Albert Almora could be a top-10 Draft pick | MLB.com: News". Mlb.mlb.com. Retrieved November 14, 2013.
  2. ^ "Reese McGuire Wins USA Baseball Player of the Year Award". Baseball America. Archived from the original on July 4, 2015.
  3. ^ "USA Baseball names year-end award winners". usabaseball.com. Archived from the original on July 5, 2015.
  4. ^ "How Almora Jr. became part of the World Series puzzle". February 25, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d "Albert Almora: Albert Almora's dedication a family affair – Chicago Tribune". Articles.chicagotribune.com. October 12, 2013. Retrieved November 14, 2013.
  6. ^ "Albert Almora leads Mesa's charge as Cubs stars shine | cubs.com: News". Chicago.cubs.mlb.com. October 9, 2013. Retrieved November 14, 2013.
  7. ^ Gonzales, Mark (June 7, 2016). "Cubs place Jorge Soler on 15-day DL, Albert Almora Jr. promoted". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 7, 2016.
  8. ^ Gonzales, Mark. "Cubs' Albert Almora Jr. makes first start in left field, first pitch moved to 12:20 p.m." Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 8, 2016.
  9. ^ Bastian, Jordan; Muskat, Carrie. "Chicago Cubs win 2016 World Series". MLB. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  10. ^ Santaromita, Dan (April 22, 2018). "Albert Almora Jr. was all over the Coors Field outfield". NBC News. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  11. ^ "Colorado Rockies 2, Chicago Cubs 1". Retrosheet. October 2, 2018. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  12. ^ "Cubs' Opening Day roster from A(lmora) to Z(obrist)". March 27, 2019.
  13. ^ "Ross on Happ: 'He's the real deal'". August 9, 2020. Retrieved February 7, 2021.
  14. ^ "Cubs non-tender OFs Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora". Chicago Sun Times. December 2, 2020. Retrieved February 7, 2021.
  15. ^ "Albert Almora and Mets finalize 1-year, $1.25M contract". ESPN. Associated Press. February 10, 2021. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  16. ^ Pantorno, Joe (May 12, 2021). "Mets notes: Jeff McNeil 'OK', Albert Almora to 10-day IL". AM New York Metro. Retrieved May 12, 2021.
  17. ^ "Cubs' Albert Almora Jr. gets married on his off-day, then sent to Iowa". Chicago Tribune. July 22, 2016. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  18. ^ "Cubs' Albert Almora Jr. says wife Krystal 'is doing much better'". Chicago Tribune. July 16, 2018. Retrieved July 13, 2021.
  19. ^ "MLB Players Weekend to showcase unique nicknames, colorful uniforms". Chicago Sun-Times. August 10, 2017. Retrieved July 13, 2021.