I’ve seen a lot of complaints in the Twitterverse of late, regarding the limited playing time that Albert Almora Jr. has been getting. While I was at spring training I postured that he may end up an everyday player and lead-off batter. Clearly, I was incorrect.
Looking at the numbers, Almora Jr. has appeared in 18 or the 22 regular season games played to date. That’s really not all that terrible. Daniel Descalso has played in 10 and David Bote in 17. Despite their early-season struggles, the Chicago Cubs problem is not that they don’t have enough good players to rotate into positions, it is entirely the opposite!
Consider, Javier Baez seven home runs and .315 batting average on the season. He is also a player that if DraftKings offered style points I would be a much wealthier woman.
Anthony Rizzo, oh captain my captain we cannot exclude him from the lineup. Jason Heyward, a 5x gold glove winner who is finally hitting in the way Cubs fans had hoped he would ever since his signing for the 2016 season- a man who just last night hit a 3-run homer. Benny Zobrist, the veteran utility man who may very well be one of the most versatile players in the game and was our own World Series MVP.
Joe Maddon has a heck of a lot of difficult decisions to make this season. Obviously, not all the aforementioned players are outfielders but due to Zobrist’s versatility and Kris Bryant’s enjoyment of outfielding occasionally there are a multitude of ways to work men in and out of any given lineup. Personally, I think Almora is worth much more to the team than his -0.1 WAR ranking leads us to believe.
As the season continues Maddon has clearly begun finding more comfort in his lineups- as evidenced by the Cubs 8-2 record in the last ten games. Ultimately though Joe needs to make the decisions that will lead the Cubs, once again, to the postseason. I’ve no doubt that Almora will be an integral part of getting them there but that might not look exactly how we fans thought it would. We may not get to see our most favorite players play every single game this season but that doesn’t mean we won’t see a tremendous season in which the Cubs will most certainly have a winning record.