Albert Almora may be one of the bigger names in the Arizona Fall League, but he's not letting it go to his head.
"This is unreal," the 19-year-old outfielder said. "You've got the best of the best here. I'm super-excited, and to have the game that I had, I'm super-blessed. I couldn't ask for any more."
Mesa certainly didn't need any more from Almora, who combined with fellow Cubs prospect Kris Bryant for six hits -- including two homers -- and six RBIs on Wednesday afternoon in a 13-3 rout of Glendale.
Almora, the Cubs' top outfield prospect, went 4-for-5 with a solo shot in the first, three RBIs and three runs scored. Bryant, Chicago's fourth-ranked prospect, was 2-for-3 with a three-run blast in the first before his defensive replacement at third base, fellow Cub Wes Darvill, added a two-run homer in the eighth.
Cubs No. 3 prospect Jorge Soler made his lone hit count, delivering a three-run double in the fourth and scoring twice.
"It was awesome," Almora said of the performances of his Cubs' teammates. "They were saying in the dugout, 'It's all you guys. It's all Cubs.' Everybody in the Cubs organization has so much respect."
Mesa totaled 16 hits, scoring seven times over the first two frames and building an 11-0 lead by the fourth for starter Sammy Solis, a Nationals lefty who struck out two and held Glendale to three hits over 3 2/3 innings for the win.
For Almora, who had one homer in 44 leadoff at-bats for Class A Kane County this season, his first hit on Wednesday set the tone. Facing Glendale starter Michael Lorenzen, who he saw in the Midwest League this summer, the Florida native sent the first pitch over the left-field fence at HoHoKam Park.
"I don't have a lot of experience leading off games. I just took a nice swing and it went out," Almora said. "I knew [Lorenzen], I played with the guy, so I know he likes to throw the fastball. I let it ride."
Almora said the last time he led off a game was in a high school showcase event, where he also homered. It's a little early to tell whether the Cubs envision him as a future leadoff man -- he's appeared in only 94 Minor League games -- but the Fall League experience will be a good chance to learn and develop.
"[I want to] get better and learn from the best and try to have fun," Almora said. "I want to pick people's brains; that's what we're here for. I'm the second-youngest here, so I'm just trying to gain experience."
Bryant, a 21-year-old third baseman, can offer some advice after getting a taste of Class A Advanced Daytona, a likely destination for the outfielder next spring. Bryant's homer came two outs after Almora's.
"It was great, he hit a bomb," Almora said. "I just waited for him on the top step, shaking my head. It was unbelievable. It was awesome to have two Cubs go deep in one inning."
Glendale was unable to take advantage of four Mesa errors but used three late solo homers to fight back. Brandon Jacobs, pinch-hitting for fellow White Sox prospect Marcus Semien, went deep against Robert Benincasa (Nationals) in the ninth after Travis Mattair (Reds) and Jared Mitchell (White Sox) hit long balls in the sixth and eighth, respectively. Mattair and Mitchell finished with two hits apiece, but the Desert Dogs went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left 11 on base.
Lorenzen (0-1) was charged with seven runs on six hits and three walks over two innings before Jamie Walczak (Reds) allowed four runs on six hits in 1 1/3 frames.