Signed by the Cubs in 2008, Arismendy Alcantara, from the Dominican Republic, made his professional debut in 2009 in the Dominican Summer League. In 2010, he made his stateside debut with Boise in the Northwest League, where he hit .283/.315/.402 with six triples and seven steals in 59 games. In 2012, he started to put himself on the prospect map as he hit .302/.339/.447 with seven triples and 25 steals in 85 games in the Florida State League. He entered 2013 as the no. 10 prospect in the Cubs farm system, according to Baseball America.
Primed for a breakout season, Alcantara, who had already displayed he can hit and run, added power in his first season with at least 100 games played in 2013. He hit .271/.352/.451 with 55 extra-base hits and his 15 home runs were more than double his career high. Despite his free-swinging tendencies, Alcantara also walked 62 times and his walk rate was above 10 percent. It was easy for Alcantara to fly under the radar in the Cubs system before, but this season earned him a trip to the Futures Game, where he continued to open eyes around the game
What Went Right In 2014
Alcantara continued his power surge in the minors, this time hitting 10 home runs in 89 games with Triple-A before receiving the call to the majors. He stayed hot at least initially, going 9-for-23 with five extra-base hits, five RBI, and a stolen base in his first five games. While he continued to run and hit for power as the Cubs jettisoned Darwin Barney to accommodate him, finishing with eight steals and 10 home runs in 70 major-league games, other parts of his game suffered immensely.
What Went Wrong In 2014
In his last 65 games with the Cubs, he hit .181/.231/.333. Where to begin? Let’s start with his 93-to-17 K:BB ratio in 300 major-league plate appearances. Alcantara isn’t to be counted on for his batting average anyway, but a 31 percent strikeout rate is unacceptable no matter who you are. He must improve his approach at the plate because, as you might know, they throw ungodly breaking stuff in the show. His struggles in this regard will continue and limit his AVG potential until he proves he can lay off quality breaking pitches at the major-league level.
What to Expect in 2015
With the recent acquisition of Dexter Fowler to Chicago, it appears that Alcantara is likely set for a super utility role in 2015, which puts a bit of a damper on his fantasy stock. Despite advancing through the Cubs’ system as a shortstop, Alcantara played either second base or center field in all 70 major-league games he played last year. He might not be the best defensive outfielder, but he obviously has the speed to overcome that. Playing time will have a big impact on his value this year and it might be tough for him to get 500 plate appearances in a utility role. The lack of consistent playing time could also make it tougher for Alcantara to make the necessary adjustments to his offensive game. If an injury opens up regular playing time, it won’t take Alcantara long to make an impact with his potent speed and power.
The Great Beyond
Alcantara could benefit slightly in keeper and dynasty formats from the super utility role this year as he might be able to hold second base eligibility for another year because of it. A power and speed threat like Alcantara is rare in the middle infield and multi-position eligibility only adds to his value. While the super-utility role clouds his playing time at the outset of this year, it’s still likely that Alcantara has a future as a regular, so it would be unwise to undervalue him in long-term formats. Alcantara is worth our patience because playing time is all that’s keeping his outstanding tools from shining.
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