While most of the Cubs were focusing on rest and relaxtion this winter, Albert Almora Jr. sees no need for chillin'.
Kris Bryant admitted he was worn down by the end of the Cubs' playoff run last October and most other regulars would say the same thing.
But some Cubs saw the winter not as an "offseason" but as the first opportunity to prove something.
Kyle Schwarber has shed weight and looks to be in great shape, but Almora is in the same boat.
The 23-year-old outfielder is chomping at the bit, anxious for the season to start. So anxious, in fact, that he spent just a couple weeks at home in Florida before heading to Arizona to start training for 2018.
Yes, that's right. He's been in Arizona since November — training, eating right, mentally preparing himself for the grind ahead, taking swings.
That's nothing new for the first draft pick under Theo Epstein's front office who's constantly trying to validate the sixth overall selection in the 2012 Draft.
"I'm always going out there trying to prove them right, trying to make them happy," Almora said.
This is a kid who earned a World Series ring before his 23rd birthday and has five gold medals from playing for Team USA as a teenager.
Almora's no stranger to the big stage and he's already accomplished so much at such a young age, but he's never experienced anything quite like the 2017 season.
He's always been a starter and everyday player. From age 8, when he was playing up with 14-year-olds, Almora has been among the youngest guys on any team he's been on.
That was the case with the 2017 Cubs once again, but this time, he wasn't a key contributor. He played nearly every day — notching 132 games — but only started 65 times throughout the course of the year. He had to learn a lot about waiting for his moment and making the most of his one at-bat or one inning in the field.
"[Playing time is] not in my control and I'm gonna do whatever I can when my name is called to help the team win games and have a lot of fun with it," Almora said. "That's the only way to stay sane and not worry too much.
"At the end of the day, all I can control is what I do on the ballfield and that's it."
Almora admitted he's let that external stuff creep into his mind in the past, though that was mostly in the minor leagues when he was wondering when he'd get called up to the next level.
In the majors, it's all about winning and Almora believes he can help the big-league team get back to the Promised Land.
Even Epstein admitted Almora is primed for a larger role in 2018, as the young outfielder proved down the stretch last year he could contribute against right-handed pitching as well as southpaws.
What does he make of his progression the last couple years?
"I can answer that by just saying I'm confident," Almora said. "The more opportunity I get, the more experienced under my belt. You're not intimidated, you're having a lot of fun out there and your confident in your game.