For a combination of reasons, Arismendy Alcantara has fallen from our regular mentions of the Cubs’ elite, young positional talent. No, it’s not like we don’t still know he’s got tons of upside and could provide so much value to the Cubs in the coming years. It’s just, I don’t know, so many big names combined with a presumption that Alcantara will serve a unique role on the Cubs in 2015. In some ways, the expectation that Alcantara will be this very valuable super utility guy (if that’s what proves to be the case) makes us talk about him less in Spring Training.
That’s probably unfair in both directions – on the one hand, Alcantara was a top 30 prospect in baseball last year, because he’s got huge offensive upside coupled with potentially great defensive value. On 20 other teams, he gets talked about a lot (he was the original COOKIES! guy, for crying out loud). On the other hand, he’s still just 23 years old, and struck out 31% of the time in his big league debut last year. I’m not sure it’s quite yet appropriate for us to just assume he’s going to be able to be offensively productive AND move around the diamond constantly. There are reasons to think that’s possible as soon as this year, but we should probably step back a bit from time to time.
So, in the interests of discussing Alcantara a little more – mostly the good stuff, since I just touched on the downside, and that was enough for me on a Saturday morning – check out his homer from yesterday’s White Sox game, which gave the Cubs the lead for good:
I love Alcantara’s swing, and how he’s able to generate so much pop with his quick wrists.
That capped off a great day for Alcantara, who struck out once, but worked great at bats, and walked twice. One of them came after something like 10 pitches.
It’s probably not fair to expect Alcantara to be Ben Zobrist in 2015 (or maybe ever), but it’s not hard to imagine a guy who plays good defense at multiple positions in 120 games, hits .270/.310/.420, and runs the bases well. That guy is super valuable and deserves plenty of attention.