Cubs Prospect Focus: Kevin Alcantara

Cubs Prospect Focus: Kevin Alcantara

by - Senior Writer -

The 2022 Minor League season will go down as one of the best in Chicago Cubs history. Not only did three of the four full-season teams make the playoffs, but two played for the league title, with South Bend coming away with their second title in three years. Considering the amount of talent still making its way through the system, these could be the types of results we see for a while.

A big reason for the organization's overall success was a refreshing new mindset focusing on winning just as much as player development. The development side took care of itself as several breakout performers helped pave the way for the entire organization's success.

Matt Mervis and Alexander Canario stand out the most in breakout campaigns, but they were not alone. Jordan Wicks, Pete Crow-Armstrong, Luis Devers, and several others had tremendous seasons, which only bodes well for the season ahead. One of the guys who came away with a massive season is OF prospect Kevin Alcantara.

Acquired from the New York Yankees as part of the Anthony Rizzo deal in 2021, the 2018 International Free Agent is quickly becoming a fan favorite and is just one of a handful of big-name OF prospects in the system. From a physical standpoint, Alcantara draws similar comparisons to Alfonso Soriano, mainly because of his 6-6 and 188-pound frame.

He was one of the youngest players in his free agent class, but that didn't stop the Yankees from signing him to a one million dollar offer. Given his youth at the time, Alcantara waited a year to make his professional debut and then hit .255 across 41 games in 2019 with one homer, 19 RBIs, and five steals.

Then came 2020, which halted Minor league baseball, and Alcantara was limited to just 41 games across his first two seasons. Not knowing what to expect in 2021, Alcantara only played in 35 games but dominated in those games. He hit .345, including .337, with the ACL Cubs while finally showing some of the potential that the Yankees fell in love with.

Last season was crucial for Alcantara and his overall development, and he not only passed but passed with flying colors. In 112 games with Myrtle Beach, Alcantara did more than hold his own, as he posted a .273 average with six triples, 14 steals, 19 doubles, and a team-high 15 homers and 85 RBIs. Had it not been for Canario or Mervis, Alcantara would have been in the running for the organizational player of the year.

When you look at Alcantara, it is hard not to dream about how good this guy can become. His 6-6 frame will only continue to fill out with experience, but he is highly athletic for a guy that size. That athleticism, with the size, could help reach plus tools across the board, a rare feat in today's game.

With his bat speed, projectable strength, and the leverage in his long frame, he creates well-above-average raw power and exit velocities. He uses a Soriano-like swing to generate most of that power. He's still unproven against advanced pitching and has a naturally long right-handed stroke, but he does have some feel for the barrel and should hit for average if he can refine his plate discipline.

You saw some of that improve as the season went on last summer, but there is still more work today, which starts this season. Alcantara has plus speed and is a threat to steal bases, but look for him to lose a step or two once he fully fills out.

Despite that, he uses extremely long strides to cover tons of ground in center, and his plus arm projects well in right field should he be forced to move. As long as Crow-Armstrong is in this system, he is the CF, so it is only a matter of time until Alcantara moves to RF permanently.

Not only is he physically gifted, but he's also an intelligent player with a strong work ethic. That work ethic was put to good use last season as he fell into an early season slump only to battle himself out of it before the season's end. Alcantara may not be the top prospect in the Cubs system, but you could argue he is the most anticipated of the top five this season, as fans worldwide want to see how good this kid can get.

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