Unless the Cubs bring Jon Jay back, Albert Almora Jr. seemingly becomes the primary option in center.
Theo Epstein and Co.’s first Cubs draft pick played exceptionally well in his role last season, producing 1.2 fWAR in only 323 plate appearances. Almora put up an impressive .334 wOBA, albeit it mostly against left-handed pitching, and rated as an above-average defender in the outfield with a ~2 UZR/150.
Steamer projects similar value for the 23-year-old next season. The forecasting model believes Almora will have a .319 wOBA and 1.2 fWAR over 390 plate appearances. Scaling that level of production up to 600 plate appearances would mean the Cubs would get an average centerfielder.
But we know that player development isn’t always linear, and Almora’s production at the plate last year certainly accelerated at the tail end.