Should The Chicago Cubs Keep Arismendy Alcantara In The Majors?
What was thought to be brief stint in the big leagues for Chicago Cubs second base prospect Arismendy Alcantara just might turn out to be a longer stay. Alcantara was originally called-up to the Cubs to fill-in for current starting second baseman Darwin Barney, who went out on paternity leave, but in the five games and 23 at-bats since his call-up, Alcantara has hit .391/.400/.739 with 6 R’s, 3 2B’s, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI’s, 1 SB, and a 1.139 OPS. With as well as Alcantara had been playing heading into the All-Star break, he now has the Cubs front office rethinking their initial plans for him and has them asking themselves, can we really send him back down to Triple-A?
Alcantara started the season in Triple-A with the Iowa Cubs, where he was batting .307/.353/.537 with 62 R’s, 25 2B’s, 11 3B’s, 10 HR’s, 41 RBI’s, 21 SB’s, and a .890 OPS in 335 at-bats. He is a power/speed combo player who is good enough defensively to stick at second base, or is athletic enough to move to the OF should the Cubs decide to move him there. It’s Alcantara’s versatility that may play well in his favor, as the Cubs have a gluttony of middle infield prospects, which may force Alcantara to move positions, most likely center field. While in Triple-A, Alcantara has been playing both second base and center field, as his final position destination on the baseball is still to be determined.
Alcantara is one of many highly-touted prospects within the Cubs farm system. Though he might not be as well-known or have as high a ceiling as other Cubs prospects like third baseman Kris Bryant, shortstop Javier Baez, newly acquired shortstop Addison Russell, or outfielder Jorge Soler, Alcantara shouldn’t be taken lightly and is starting to make some noise of his own within the prospect circles. At the beginning of this season, respected baseball publication Baseball Prospectus had Alcantara ranked as the #83 best prospect in all of baseball. On July 7th, Prospectus released their midseason Top 50 prospects list, and wouldn’t you know it, Alcantara made an astonishing leap to #18. I had the pleasure of watching Alcantara play live when the Cubs (Iowa) played the Sacramento River Cats, the Oakland A’s Triple-A affiliate. Here is the write-up I did on Alcantara from that game (Click Here).
Alcantara should continue his run in the big-league with the Cubs for the time being. Many scouted and baseball writers – including myself – feel that Alcantara is better than Barney or any outfielder they have on their big league roster right now. And while the Cubs are in no way contending for a playoff spot this season, there is no reason why Alcantara shouldn’t be with the Cubs and at least starting to get some pro-level at-bats under his belt. The Cubs can’t continue to just hold these prospects under water in their farm system without eventually letting them come up for some air.