Results tagged ‘ Albert Almora ’

10/23 Bryant & AFL update

Kris Bryant was 2-for-4 and Albert Almora drove in a run for the Mesa Solar Sox in a 4-2 loss to Surprise Saguaros on Tuesday in Arizona Fall League play. Bryant is leading the AFL with a .438 average. On Wednesday, Mesa travels to Scottsdale Stadium for a game against the Scorpions.

Bryant also leads the AFL in home runs (four), runs (10), RBIs (13), and slugging (.906). Going from short-season Boise to the AFL is a big jump — most of the players in the Fall League are the team’s top prospects — but Bryant, 21, feels he’s ready. He’s paced himself well. The Blue Jays drafted him in the 18th round in 2010 but he opted to go to the University of San Diego instead of turning pro. This past college season, he led the nation with 31 home runs. The Cubs selected him in the first round of the Draft.

You can’t miss Bryant at the plate. He has a wide stance that seems to stretch beyond the batter’s box. He used to stand more upright but 10 games into his sophomore season in college, a hitting coach suggested he make a change.

“If I widened out and squatted down, the low pitch was easier to hit and my head stays still,” Bryant said. “It’s really been working for me. I know there are some people who think I could do things differently and I’m open to whatever anybody has to say to me. I’ve been doing it this way for a while and I feel comfortable.”

One of Bryant’s best characteristics is his willingness to learn. Many of the Cubs’ Minor League coaching staff described him as a “sponge,” eager to listen and learn.

“Getting to know Kris in the short period of time [he's been with the Cubs], he’s going to make adjustments when he feels things aren’t right or he feels he needs to make some type of physical adjustment,” said Anthony Iapoce, the Cubs’ Minor League hitting coordinator. “He’ll start making those on his own, or he’ll come and question, and say, ‘Hey, I want to do this.’ He won’t sit there and keep making outs. He’s going to find a way to adjust, or he wouldn’t be the second pick in the Draft.”

The question most Cubs fans now have is when Bryant will be in the big leagues. Will he be in the 2014 Opening Day lineup?

“I can’t say that,” Bryant said. “I would love to, but it depends on how I play, and that’s what it goes back to. I’m just going to play as hard as I can. If I’m doing well, things will take care of themselves.”

(For more on Bryant, check out my story on Cubs.com, which will be posted later today)

– Carrie Muskat

10/20 AFL update

Sunday is an off day for the Arizona Fall League, but games will resume on Monday. The Mesa Solar Sox play host to Surprise at HoHoKam Park at 12:35 p.m. MT. Cubs prospect Kris Bryant is batting .423 with four home runs and 12 RBIs in six AFL games with the Solar Sox so far, while teammate Albert Almora is batting .417 with one home run, four doubles and eight RBIs in five games. Wes Darvill is 3-for-12 in four games, while Jorge Soler is batting .229 (8-for-35) with five RBIs in seven games.

Among the Cubs pitching prospects on the Solar Sox, Dallas Beeler has made two starts, and given up four earned runs over six innings, whlie Matt Loosen has appeared in three games and served up two earned runs over 5 1/3 innings. Lendy Castillo has given up one earned run over four innings in four games, and Armando Rivero has given up two earned runs over four innings in four games.

10/16 AFL update

Albert Almora was 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs in the Mesa Solar Sox’s 7-4 victory over Scottsdale on Tuesday in Arizona Fall League play. Almora, who hit a two-run double in the third, was batting .571, tops in the AFL. Jorge Soler was 1-for-5 with a single and Cuban pitcher Armando Rivero, another Cubs prospect, gave up one run on two hits over one inning in relief. On Wednesday, Mesa faces the Peoria Javelinas in Surprise.

On Tuesday, Cubs prospect Kris Bryant was named co-player of the week in the AFL.

10/12 AFL update

Kris Bryant hit a two-out RBI single in the first, driving in Jorge Soler, who had reached on an error, and a solo home run in the seventh to lift the Mesa Solar Sox to a 7-3 victory Friday night over the Peoria Javelinas in Surprise. Bryant was 2-for-5, and is 7-for-14 in three games in the Arizona Fall League with two home runs. Soler was 1-for-5 and scored two runs, and Wes Darvill added a RBI single in the third. Dallas Beeler started, and gave up one run on three hits over three innings. Lendy Castillo gave up one run on one hit and two walks in one inning in relief.

On Saturday, all teams are off as a hitting competition is held at Talking Stick at Salt River. The Cubs’ Albert Almora, who is 6-for-10 in two games, will take part. Almora has hit for the cycle in his first two games with Mesa. The Solar Sox — or Soler Sox if you prefer — resume play on Monday, traveling to Scottsdale for a 6:35 p.m. MT game against the Scorpions.

10/11 AFL update

Albert Almora was 2-for-5 and hit a bases-clearing triple in the ninth to finish with three RBIs in the Mesa Solar Sox’s 8-1 win over Salt River on Thursday night in Arizona Fall League play. Cubs pitching prospect Armando Rivero gave up one hit in one inning in relief. On Friday, the Solar Sox travel to Surprise to play the Peoria Javelinas. The game will be played at Surprise Stadium, starting at 6:35 p.m. MT. You can find box scores and the schedule on http://www.MLBFallBall.com.

10/9 AFL update

Cubs prospects Albert Almora, Jorge Soler, Kris Bryant and Wes Darvill combined to go 8-for-14 with 11 RBIs in the Mesa Solar Sox’s 13-3 win over the Glendale Desert Dogs in Arizona Fall League play Wednesday. Almora homered on the first pitch he saw leading off the first at HoHoKam Stadium, and finished 4-for-5 with three RBIs. He needed a triple to complete the cycle. Soler hit a three-run double and Bryant hit a three-run homer. Darvill, who is on the taxi squad, hit a two-run homer in his only at-bat.

– Carrie Muskat

10/9 Almora’s 1st inning HR

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(Photo courtesy of Dylan Higgins, Arizona Fall League)

10/9 Good guy

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Cubs prospect Albert Almora signs for fans waiting to get into HoHoKam Park on Wednesday for the Mesa Solar Sox’s Arizona Fall League game.

10/6 Extra bases

* Several members of the Cubs’ front office, including Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer, will be in Arizona this week to watch some of the young prospects play in the Arizona Fall League and the instructional league games. The AFL begins Tuesday with the Mesa Solar Sox — or “Soler Sox,” as in Jorge Soler — traveling to Glendale to play the Desert Dogs. Cubs prospects playing for Mesa include Soler, Albert Almora, Kris Bryant, Wes Darvill, Matt Loosen, Dallas Beeler, Lendy Castillo and Armando Rivera.

* Arodys Vizcaino, acquired from the Braves in July 2012 in the Paul Maholm trade, has been rehabbing in Mesa, and was scheduled to throw a live batting practice session on Tuesday, then pitch in instructional league games Oct. 15 and Oct. 18. The right-hander will likely see some action in Winter League play as well.

* Mike Olt, acquired from the Rangers in the Matt Garza deal this year, got some extra swings in at the Cubs complex this past week.

* There’s been a lot of progress made at the Cubs’ new Spring Training complex in west Mesa. It’s nice to see the stadium taking shape, palm trees planted and water in the little lake. The Cubs will leave their Fitch Park facility in November.

– Carrie Muskat

9/24 Extra bases

* With top prospect Javier Baez not playing in the Arizona Fall League, the Cubs have added infielder Wes Darvill to the Mesa Solar Sox roster.

“He’s an interesting player and does a lot of things well on the field and has good instincts,” Theo Epstein said. “It’ll be a nice opportunity for him.”

Darvill, 22, a fifth round pick in 2009, began this season at Class A Kane County, and batted .347 in 15 games before he was promoted to high A Daytona, and hit .253 in 79 games. A left-handed hitter, he played primarily at second base, but also played third and shortstop.

Albert Almora, the Cubs’ No. 1 pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, was on the Mesa taxi squad, but now will have the chance to play every day, Epstein said.

The Cubs also pulled Arodys Vizcaino off the AFL roster so he could pitch in instructional league, and were expected to add a pitcher to Mesa.

* Second baseman Darwin Barney did not start Tuesday, but will be back in the lineup on Wednesday in the home finale. Barney was batting .156 in 20 games this month. Could he be worn down?

“You never know,” manager Dale Sveum said. “I don’t know about physically but mentally he’s probably not where he wants to be.”

* The Cubs have four players converting to catcher during instructional league, including Ben Carhart, Gioskar Amaya, Giuseppe Papaccio, and Jordan Hankins. Epstein said the moves were an “experiment” for the quartet. Carhart played first and third with Daytona this season, batting .247, while Amaya played second base for Kane County. Hankins and Pappacio, both infielders, were selected in this year’s Draft in the 11th and 18th rounds, respectively.

– Carrie Muskat

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