The Immediately Fantasy-Relevant Arismendy Alcantara

Arismendy Alcantara came in fifth on the Cubs’ preseason Top 10 prospects list here at FanGraphs, and was a consensus Top 100 prospect in baseball. His stock only rose further as this season went on, as he put up consistently great numbers in Triple-A. His .307/.353/.537 slash — with ten homers and 21 steals — made it seem like his arrival as a five-category fantasy middle infielder was more a question of ‘when’ than ‘if.’

Since he arrived in the majors just over a week ago, Alcantara has been every bit as good as advertised, hitting .286/.316/.543 with a homer and three steals in 38 plate appearances. His performance thus far should be more than enough to keep him in the major-league lineup; expect either Mike Olt (.142/.226/.361, 38.9% K-rate) or Junior Lake (.219/.246/.385, 34.1% K-rate) to be the odd man out on the 25-man roster when Emilio Bonifacio returns, and Darwin Barney (.230/.265/.328) sure isn’t doing anything to demand his starting job back.

I had the opportunity to see Alcantara play in Triple-A a couple weeks ago, just before he got the call to the majors. I came away highly impressed and intrigued by his five-category fantasy potential. His speed and baserunning instincts are both easy pluses, as he went 52-for-61 in stolen-base attempts between Double-A and Triple-A, an 85.2% success rate (he’s already 3-for-3 in the majors). He has very good pure speed, and he gets to his top gear quickly. When I saw him, he showed off his wheels on a double to the right-center gap on which he was absolutely flying as he rounded first.

I like his hit tool a great deal as well, as his compact swing and excellent bat speed allow him to barrel up just about anything, which explains the surprising pop he showcases for a guy who stands 5’10”, 160 pounds. His isolated power was .180 in Double-A in 2013, and increased to .230 this year in Triple-A (he’s at .257 so far in his brief major-league stint). He also showed very good plate coverage and the ability to hit the ball with authority to all fields. For example, check out this opposite-field double he hit earlier this month:

The switch-hitting 22-year-old is nearly the exact same hitter from each side of the plate, erasing any concerns about a need to platoon him either way. In his minor-league career, Alcantara possesses a .297/.353/.452 slash against lefties (.805 OPS) and .281/.332/.443 line against righties (.775 OPS).

The negatives with Alcantara are pretty few and far between, but his aggressive approach is one that stands out. He’s a bit of a free-swinger, which leads to a pretty high whiff rate — his swinging strike percentage was 12.1% between Double-A and Triple-A. His plate discipline stats in Triple-A reflect this weakness, as he posted a 6.8% BB-rate and 22.7% K-rate. Still, his hit tool is good enough that I’m not terribly concerned about his ability to maintain a solid batting average.

When it comes down to it, there isn’t a whole lot that does concern me about Alcantara’s major-league potential, or his fantasy value, for that matter. I suppose he’s been overlooked a bit simply because he’s in the same organization as Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Albert Almora, Jorge Soler and now Addison Russell, but make no mistake — Alcantara has a sky-high ceiling in his own right.

For rest-of-season fantasy purposes, he may not rack up the runs or RBI thanks to the fact that he plays for the Cubs, but that should be mitigated a bit if he keeps hitting near the top of the lineup. It’s easy to project another 10-15 steals, paired with 6-8 homers and a solid average. Even in mixed leagues, Alcantara looks the part of a legitimate fantasy middle-infield option.

We hoped you liked reading The Immediately Fantasy-Relevant Arismendy Alcantara by Scott Strandberg!

Please support FanGraphs by becoming a member. We publish thousands of articles a year, host multiple podcasts, and have an ever growing database of baseball stats.

FanGraphs does not have a paywall. With your membership, we can continue to offer the content you've come to rely on and add to our unique baseball coverage.

Support FanGraphs

Scott Strandberg started writing for Rotographs in 2013. He works in small business consultation, and he also writes A&E columns for The Norman Transcript newspaper. Scott lives in Seattle, WA.

newest oldest most voted

Having never seen him before, I watched his PAs during his first series after being called up. I knew of his swing-happy reputation, and I was prepared to cringe at his hackitude. I didn’t see it. I saw him lay off of not only balls outside the zone, but also pitcher’s pitch strikes. I so enjoyed his smart, short-to-the-ball approach that I ended up putting him above Odor in my personal fantasy rankings.