Cubs Claim Infielder Sergio Alcantara Off of Waivers from the Tigers

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Cubs Claim Infielder Sergio Alcantara Off of Waivers from the Tigers

Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs today claimed infielder Sergio Alcantara off of waivers from the Detroit Tigers, adding to their increasingly deep pool of fringy second base/shortstop/third base types behind the big league crew, although he might be the best defensive option at shortstop in the upper minors now.

Alcantara, 24, was formerly a well-regarded young switch-hitting prospect in the Diamondbacks system, included in the 2017 deadline trade to the Tigers for J.D. Martinez. After that year, he was added to the Tigers’ 40-man roster so they could keep him around despite his relative youth, but he stalled out at AA as the power didn’t develop:

(via FanGraphs)

Alcantara did get a cup there with the Tigers in the shortened 2020 season, but clearly they decided he wasn’t going to stick. The glove seems to be legit, but as a smaller, slappy, contact hitter, it can be hard to stick in the big leagues if you aren’t constantly barreling liners for base hits.

As recently as 2019, Alcantara was ranked as the 16th best prospect in a good Tigers system by FanGraphs, but the upside is really limited:

It’s easy to fall in love with Alcantara after just watching him take infield. Not only is he coordinated and acrobatic, but his throws to first sizzle through the air, even with just a flick of his wrist. He has one of the best infield arms in the minors and should be an above-average defender at maturity. At the plate, he lacks even a modicum of strength and has near bottom-of-the-scale power from both sides of the plate. He’s a competent slash and dash hitter, but that’s becoming less common, even at shortstop. Tigers fans who visit this site are likely acquainted with Jose Iglesias‘ player page. Iglesias was a better defender than Alcantara (and, well, just about everybody) and had better feel for contact with similar power, and is someone we’d ideally have as a 45 or 50 on prospect lists based on his’ WAR production. Logically, Alcantara needs to be beneath those tiers. He could be a speedy, versatile bench infielder for a long time, though.

The Cubs don’t have a lot of obvious upper-level depth capable of playing big-league-caliber shortstop, so this is a good addition just in case something were to happen at the big league level. And, I suppose, it’s a free shot in the dark that you can take a smaller, high-contact, switch-hitter, and tweak him just enough to make him playable offensively. I like it.

The problem? And the reason Alcantara wasn’t just kept by the Tigers? He’s out of minor league options. So if the Cubs actually want to keep him as minor league depth, they’re going to have to try to slip him through waivers at some point, just as the Tigers did, and then, if successful, they can outright him to AAA Iowa.

In the meantime, Alcantara’s addition brings the 40-man up to 38. Note, none of Joc Pederson, Trevor Williams, or Andrew Chafin have officially been announced. So when they are, the 40-man would be up to … 41. Can’t have that. So something else will happen soon. Might just be an Alcantara DFA and waiver attempt.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.