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Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Cubs sign Albert Almora

ESPNChicago.com

The Chicago Cubs announced the signing on Wednesday of top draft pick Albert Almora.

A source with knowledge of the situation told ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine on Monday that the deal is worth $3.9 million.

The 18-year-old outfielder was the sixth pick in the June draft. The Cubs had until Friday to sign Almora, who talked of honoring his scholarship at the University of Miami soon after the Cubs drafted him. After Friday players drafted must wait until next June's draft to sign again.

Almora will report to the Cubs' spring training complex in Mesa on Wednesday.

Almora batted .603 with 13 doubles, five triples, six home runs, 34 RBIs and 24 steals at Mater Academy in Hialeah Gardens, Fla. He also had a 1.164 slugging percentage and a .667 on-base percentage in 25 games.

The Cubs now have 19 of their top 20 picks under contract, although second-round selection Duane Underwood, a right-handed pitcher out of Pope High School in Georgia, announced via his Twitter account that he had signed with the Cubs. His signing will become official pending a physical and will be announced this week.

At age 17, Underwood was among the youngest draft-eligible pitchers. He will turn 18 on July 24.

Pitching was a priority in this year's draft, but the potential to add an outfielder of Almora's stature was too hard to resist. Almora was USA Baseball's athlete of the year in 2011 after he helped the 18-under team go 9-0 and earn a gold medal in the Pan Am Games. He has been a part of six USA national teams and has won five gold medals.

After selecting Almora, the Cubs then went to pitchers with their next seven selections, including compensation-round picks Pierce Johnson and Paul Blackburn, both right-handers.

ESPNChicago.com's Doug Padilla contributed to this report.