Cubs sign OF Albert Almora

CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs have signed their first-round selection (sixth pick overall) in the 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, outfielder Albert Almora out of Mater Academy Charter in Hialeah Gardens, Fla.  Almora reports to Mesa today.

The Cubs have thus far signed 19 of their first 20 picks and 28 players overall selected in the 2012 Draft.

Almora, 18, was named by Baseball America as the second-best outfielder available in the draft, and the third-best high school player in the 2012 draft class. In addition, the publication ranked him as the best defensive player and the second-best pure hitter with the third-best strike zone judgment among high school eligible players in the draft.

The six-foot-two, 180-pound Almora batted .603 (44-for-73) with 13 doubles, five triples, six home runs and 34 RBI in 25 games for Mater Academy last season. He recorded a 1.164 slugging percentage and a .667 on-base percentage thanks in part to 14 walks compared to just three strikeouts in 87 plate appearances. Almora, who made the Mater varsity squad as an eighth-grader in 2008, last season stole 24 bases in 25 attempts.

Almora, who bats and throws right-handed, has an extensive resume with Team USA Baseball. In 2011, he was named USA Baseball’s Athlete of the Year after helping the 18-under squad go 9-0 and earn the gold medal in the Pan-Am Games, an event in which he was named tournament MVP. He has been part of six USA national teams, tied for the most by any player with former major league catcher A.J. Hinch, and has earned five gold medals.