Almora Jr. keeps sizzling in the desert

Cubs prospect homers twice, drives in five; Benintendi also goes deep

Albert Almora Jr. hit .277 with three home runs and 14 RBIs in 112 big league at-bats last season. (Charlie Riedel/AP)

By MiLB.com Staff | March 26, 2017 8:16 PM

Cubs (ss) 22, Reds (ss) 4 (Box)

It's been an impressive spring for Albert Almora Jr. to date. But Chicago's No. 3 prospect almost outdid himself by homering twice and plating five runs in Sunday's rout.

Almora has been a steady contributor in the Grapefruit League for the defending World Series champions. Baseball's No. 75 prospect is hitting .309 with three home runs and 12 RBIs in 51 Cactus League at-bats as he looks to secure a spot on the Cubs' Opening Day roster. It was the second notable game this month for the 22-year-old, who belted a grand slam on March 5. 

Almora hit .303/.317/.416 with Triple-A Iowa last year. He was promoted to the Majors in June and batted .277/.308/.455 in 47 regular-season games with the Cubs before appearing in 10 contests during the playoffs.

No. 13 Victor Caratini went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs while No. 14 Chesny Young singled twice and scored twice. Third-ranked Reds prospect Jesse Winker hit a solo homer and doubled. 

Red Sox 7, Twins 2 (Box)

Andrew Benintendi won't be a prospect for long, but Boston's young star is making that time memorable. The top prospect in baseball belted his third home run in Spring Training and added a single as he ran his Grapefruit League hitting streak to five games. 

Benintendi is finishing the spring on a strong note with six hits and a walk over his past five games. Sunday's showing lifted the 22-year-old's spring slash line to .315/.387/.593, and the homer gave Benintendi his 10th RBI and eighth run of the spring.

The Arkansas product is projected to be a member of Boston's starting outfield when the Red Sox open the regular season on April 3 against the Pirates. In 34 big league games late last season, Benintendi batted .295/.359/.476 with two homers and 14 RBIs. Boston manager John Farrell has suggested Benintendi could hit in the No. 3 spot to begin the year.

Yankees 7, Rays 4 (Box)

New York's No. 4 prospect Aaron Judge continued his own stellar spring with two singles. Judge, No. 45 overall, has hits in six of his last seven games to boost his average to .321 with an .899 OPS. Tampa Bay's No. 15 prospect Jaime Schultz allowed a walk and a hit while striking out one in a scoreless eighth inning.

A's 11, Brewers 1 (Box)

Oakland's No. 19 prospect Bruce Maxwell and No. 20 Max Schrock combined for six hits, two homers, six RBIs and four runs. Maxwell went 3-for-4 with his first two Cactus League taters and four RBIs. Schrock doubled twice and singled, driving in two.

No. 12 Richie Martin had an RBI single and No. 4 Matt Chapman doubled, walked and scored onc. No. 6 Jharel Cotton allowed one run on four hits and a walk with seven strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings while No. 5 Frankie Montas gave up a hit and a walk with two punchouts in two scoreless frames.

Padres (ss) 9, Cubs (ss) 4 (Box)

Chicago's fifth-ranked prospect Jeimer Candelario had an RBI single and No. 11 Eddy Martinez singled and scored a run. No. 21 Felix Pena pitched a scoreless inning. Jose Torres, the Padres' 23rd-ranked prospect, struck out two in a perfect inning of relief. The 23-year-old has allowed four hits and two walks while fanning 14 in nine Cactus League frames.

Mariners 7, Reds (ss) 6 (Box)

Seattle's No. 4 prospect Mitch Haniger hit his 10th double of the spring and No. 19 Ben Gamel drove in one run and scored another. Cincinnati's No. 17 prospect Rookie Davis allowed five runs -- three earned -- on six hits while striking out seven in 4 2/3 innings. The right-hander helped his own cause with a solo homer.

White Sox 4, Giants 3 (Box)

Ty Blach -- San Francisco's No. 11 prospect -- allowed two runs on seven hits and a walk in six innings. Battling for a spot in the Giants rotation, the 26-year-old southpaw has compiled a 4.43 ERA in 20 1/3 innings.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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