Arismendy Alcantara didn’t get the call this week with the Cubs needing another bat, but that didn’t stop him from continuing to crush it at AAA.
Last night, Alcantara homered – twice.
The second was a no-doubter on which the right fielder didn’t move:
With that homer, Alcantara now has 10 at AAA, leading the I-Cubs. As Michael wrote recently, Alcantara has been hitting extremely well in his second go-around at AAA after failing to hold his spot on the big league roster earlier this year.
Last night’s game, though, was something of a microcosm for Alcantara: he homered twice, and in his other three plate appearances, he struck out. The overall line – .277/.341/.530 – is excellent, and his power (.252 ISO) is the highest it’s ever been in the minors. But his strikeout rate (25.7%) is also the highest it’s ever been in the minors.
We don’t know exactly what Alcantara is working on right now that prohibits him from coming to the big leagues (it’s not like the Cubs have no need for a versatile bench bat, if he were ready), but we can surmise that the pitch recognition issues that troubled him in the big leagues probably haven’t full abated. You can get by at AAA hammering fastballs and off-speed mistakes, but, in the big leagues, consistent breaking stuff and changeups will dominate you if you can’t identify them early.
Given the big league bench situation and the lack of a call up to this point, it seems likely that Alcantara will keep working on things at AAA, perhaps all the way through July. During that time, he might be considered a possible trade piece by the Cubs. If nothing comes of that, though, hopefully he’ll be in a position to come up and contribute in the second half.