Infielder Arismendy Alcantara entered 2014 with a lot of hype behind him after an impressive 2013 campaign caused him to shoot up prospect rankings in the offseason. Alcantara is a switch-hitter who moved from shortstop to second base and made an impression last year by adding power and patience to go along with his plus speed.
In total, Alcantara hit 15 home runs with 36 doubles, four triples and 31 stolen bases in 571 plate appearances. The kicker was that he also more than doubled his walk rate from 2012, going from 5.3 percent to 10.9 percent, which gave him a healthy .352 on-base percentage.
Alcantara has moved up to Triple-A Iowa this year and has continued to impress, despite a walk rate of just 2.7 percent. While the regression in his patience at the plate is a cause for concern, Alcantara has produced nine doubles and four triples to go along with two home runs and eight stolen bases, giving him an overall line of .280/.295/.495 in 113 plate appearances.
With the Chicago Cubs using a combination of Darwin Barney, Emilio Bonifacio and Luis Valbuena at second base, it would appear that there is an opening for Alcantara to take the job and run with it. While it has been assumed that second base is the position where Javier Baez will eventually break into the Major Leagues later this summer, Baez has continued to struggle at Iowa with six strikeouts in his last eight at-bats.
If Alcantara can maintain his success at the plate and eventually remembers how to take a walk, he may be in line for a promotion ahead of Baez. For the time being, the Cubs would like to give Valbuena and Barney as many at-bats as possible, so a promotion will not be coming any time soon, no matter how well either Baez or Alacantara play.
For now, Alcantara is proving that when the time does come for a call-up to the Major Leagues, he should be ready to produce some excitement atop the lineup and has the potential to develop into another piece of the Cubs’ core.