Albert Almora Jr. Rated Second-Worst Defensive Center Fielder in MLB
Albert Almora Jr. is known as a defense-first type of player whose excellent glove is supposed to gloss over some of his flaws at the plate. Even a Gold Glove wouldn’t have glittered enough to blind people to Almora’s 64 wRC+, and the SABR Defensive Index tells us his reputation served as little more than thinly and hastily applied gilding in 2019.
Among positional qualifiers, Almora ranks second-worst in center field defensive value, ahead of only the Rockies’ Ian Desmond.
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Almora’s poor SABR DI numbers match other defensive metrics including his -4.1 UZR/150 and -5 DRS, both of which were far below average. It’s hard to imagine the Cubs giving another 360 plate appearances to a man who produced -0.7 fWAR over the course of the season and at one point was the worst offensive performer in MLB over a calendar year. It’s also hard to imagine any other team in contention willing to play Almora in a semi-frequent role.
Almora may not even be a late-inning defensive replacement either, a role in which Joe Maddon used him at points over the last few seasons. When three defensive metrics report similarly bad value, you know Almora’s defense is probably a tad overrated. If that’s truly the case, he’d better figure out how to improve his offensive game in a hurry.