Cubs Prospect Profile: Kevin Alcantara
Allan Henry - USA Today Sports

Cubs Prospect Profile: Kevin Alcantara

by - Senior Writer -

There are a lot of trades teams would love to do over, but one trade the Cubs are happy to live with was the one that sent Anthony Rizzo to the New York Yankees. As tough as that deal was to make, especially knowing how valuable Rizzo was to the organization, it isn't too often that you land a potential franchise player back in the process, which is what the Yankees gave the Cubs in OF Kevin Alcantara.

Initially slated as a top 10 prospect when the trade was made, Alcantara has been trending upward since his arrival in the Cubs system and has now firmly entrenched himself as a top 100 guy and is ranked No. 4 on the Cub's top 30 list. The next question becomes, does he remain on this list, or will the Cubs trade him away, given the OF jam they currently have on the MLB roster? Whatever decision is made, it won't come easy, as Alcantara is a polarizing figure who appears destined for greatness.

An International Free Agent pickup in 2018, Alcantara was the prized pickup for the Yankees that season and signed for one million dollars as a teenager. He made his professional debut in 2019 as a 17-year-old, hitting .255 across 41 games with the DSL Yankees while connecting for one home run and 19 RBIs. It wasn't until 2021 that he really started showing his potential, which came after the COVID season in 2020 and his trade to the Cubs organization.

Between both the Cubs and Yankees organizations in 2021, Alcantara was limited to 34 games, but they were impressive games nonetheless. He hit a .345 that summer while connecting for five home runs and 24 RBIs on his first trip to the States. One year later, Alcantara took his crack at full-season ball when he established himself as the best and most dangerous hitter in the Myrtle Beach lineup.

Alcantara played in a career-high 112 games in 2022, hitting a career-best .273 with 15 homers and 85 RBIs. He also added 14 stolen bases while taking 55 walks, but with 128 strikeouts, his game had some swing-and-miss. Still, what he did in just 19 years was nothing short of an impressive feat, as he was starting to emerge as one of the premiere prospects in the entire organization.

Looking to build off his 2022 showing, Alcantara began the year with South Bend before finishing the season in AA Tennessee. Despite playing in just 102 games as he missed time with a hamstring injury, Alcantara took his bumps along the way, but like most young players, he found ways to adjust and turned himself into a productive hitter once more. After a slow start to the season, Alcantara bounced back in a big way and was the hottest hitter in the organization in the final six weeks to finish the season with a .284 average.

While his homers were slightly down at 13 and the RBIs at 71, he did miss time with injuries, so he would've set career highs in both of those marks if he was healthy all season. The more significant concern this season was watching his walk numbers plummet to 35, but on the other end, the strikeouts also came down to under 110. He is starting to draw many Alfonso Soriano comparisons, mainly due to his fringy 6-6 frame and how his offensive game translates.

Though his 6-foot-6 frame results in a naturally long right-handed swing, Alcantara keeps his stroke relatively compact and makes a lot of hard contact, smoking the ball harder than most players his age. Once he adds even more strength to fill out his body, there is no question that he will hit 30-plus homers every season with the possibility of being a 40-20 guy before too long. While most think he'll always be a power-over-hit guy, he continued to prove he can be a complete hitter. He is also willing to take walks and use the opposite field, which bodes well for his performance in the latter area.

Only a few people are as tall as Alcantara and as athletic as he is, which is a massive advantage for him and the entire Cubs organization. A center fielder for most of his pro career, he played right field alongside Pete Crow-Armstrong when they were teammates in the first two months of last season and has the solid arm strength required for the position. With several of the Cub's outfield positions locked down for the foreseeable future, Alcantara will force the Cubs to either give him a shot or trade him away to improve their team for the future.

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