Going 3-3 today against the Minnesota Twins in a 14-9 win, Albert Almora Jr. lifted his batting average to a tie for the National League lead, at .332. Prior to today’s game, Almora was sitting in second place behind the Reds’ Scooter Gennett, who is also at .332, going 3-4 in the Reds’ 12-3 rout of the Brewers today.
To be fair, Scooter Gennett has 62 more ABs than Almora, so there is something to be said about that. Almora is also not an every day player like Gennett is. Joe Maddon likes to mix things up on an almost day-to-day basis, and that includes keeping the NL batting average leader on the bench some games.
With a combination of outfielders Maddon has that includes Kyle Schwarber, Ben Zobrist, Ian Happ, Albert Almora Jr., and Jason Heyward, playing time is never guaranteed (not to mention the rumors swirling about the possibility of Bryce Harper moving to the Cubs this coming off-season. Almora primarily plays center field, and is usually in the lineup when a lefty is on the mound, but is making Maddon’s decisions tougher these days, with the way he’s been playing.
Almora also enters games in the middle-to-late innings as a pinch hitter or defensive replacement. His ability on the field is nothing to forget either, as he currently has a .993 Fielding Percentage. He has done some serious work on the field as well as at the plate.
Almora, a 24-year-old Florida native, is not even in the top 15 in All-Star voting as of June 25th. Despite his average, Almora “only” has 26 RBIs and 44 runs scored. The Cubs lead the world in runners left on base, averaging 16.2 per game (TeamRankings.com). If anything, Almora and the rest of his team are underperforming (not a big secret).
Whether or not Almora and Gennett keep battling for the top spot for the NL in batting average, Almora is yet another exciting young Cubs player to watch. Almora is also carrying around a 2.1 WAR, which a full point higher than last year, albeit with 81 games to go in the season.
Gennett, on the other hand, is really starting to make a name for himself since coming to the big leagues with Milwaukee in 2013. His career average is now a very respectable .289, and Gennett and the Reds are hot right now, going 10-3 in their last 13 games (including a four game sweep of Almora’s Cubs) with Gennett amassing 15 hits in that span.
Gennett is doing even better than Almora in WAR, with a 2.9 so far this year. Gennett, who is currently in 3rd for the NL All-Star vote for second base behind Almora’s teammate Javier Baez and Braves standout Ozzie Albies, has been a bright spot for the Reds this year despite their rocky 3-18 start.
Do you think Almora can keep this going despite his inconsistent playing time? Do you think Gennett will continue to prove himself? Let us know in the comments below!
Dennis Wierzbicki/SB Nation
Video Credit: MLB.com
Photo Credit: Jon Durr
Photo Credit: David Jablonski
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