After Soler promotion, all eyes on Almora

CHICAGO -- With Jorge Soler’s move to Single-A Peoria on Thursday, the focus has now turned toward the next high-profile promotion.

First-round draft pick Albert Almora could be close to advancing out of Mesa in the Arizona Rookie League.

The Florida high school standout is batting .263 after 14 games with four doubles, a home run and seven RBIs. He also is 4-for-5 in stolen-base attempts.

“Most of these guys will tell us when they are ready to move just by the quality of their at-bats and how hard they are putting balls in play,” said Jason McLeod, senior vice president of scouting/player development.

Almora now has a hit in six consecutive games and seven of his last eight, while batting .300 over his past 10 games.

While Soler was moved to full-season Peoria, though, the first promotion for the 18-year-old Almora could be to short-season Boise. Peoria isn't out of the question, though.

Breaking down Almora’s numbers already at Mesa, one impressive stat is his .533 batting average (8-for-15) against left-handers. It’s at least one sign that he is getting locked in again after a long layoff between the end of his high school season and the time he started playing in Mesa.

Soler was also hitting left-handers hard with a .444 batting average (8-for-18).

“It’s the old axiom that it’s easier to keep the front shoulder in against somebody on the opposite side of the mound,” McLeod said. “I think it’s just a product of seeing pitches and getting at-bats under their belt.

“Like Soler in November (during winter league), we saw him facing right-handed pitching and staying in on breaking balls. I think the big thing for him was getting his feet under him and for both it’s kind of like their spring training. We’ll see even more improvement in the next week to 10 days.”