What’s Left For Arismendy Alcantara?

We live in a great time to be a Cubs position prospect that doesn’t live up to expectations. Rare a beast as that is these days, there’s so much talent on the Major League team that no one much notices that you’ve failed to meet the lofty projections and envious comps from once-optimistic scouting reports. Your name won’t go down in Cubs lore as yet another prospect that only existed to dash our collective hopes on the road to another disastrous season. You don’t have to worry about joining the likes of Dave Kelton, Nic Jackson, Felix Pie, Josh Vitters, Brian Dopirak, and Ryan Harvey.

No, today you are protected from all of that because all is well in Cubs land. Theo Epstein has put together a team that’s in a strong position to make, and play deep into, the playoffs, thanks to a combination of talented young players that have met or exceeded everyone’s expectations, and some key free-agent signings. There aren’t many position players in the past couple of years that have been called up from the minor leagues and flopped.

The closest to a “flop” might be Arismendy Alcantara, a 24-year-old infielder/outfielder that nobody talks about much anymore because, well, who cares?

Who cares about a guy that was the Cubs’ sixth-best prospect two years ago but likely will go down to Triple-A once the fake games are over and the Kris Bryants and Kyle Schwarbers of the world embark on a quest to win the NL Central, squash talk of silly curses, and take over the world?

Here’s the thing: I do. We all have players that—for whatever reason—we gravitate towards and want to see succeed. Junior Lake was one of them, for me. Arismendy Alcantara is another.

I’m not sure why. I’ve always been an underdog kind of guy, so maybe it’s the simple fact that Alcantara was once talked about in revered tones right alongside Javier Baez and now people whisper his name wondering what ever happened to him. Or maybe I just have a thing for guys with funny-sounding names (I mean, have you seen my last name?).

Look, I get it: not all the prospects can make it. I’ve been saying it on the podcast (shameless plug) for weeks now. But were we all so wrong about the diminutive-looking (he’s actually 5’10’’) Alcantara that we should write him off and move on?

I think not.

Since we’re playing fake baseball games and I refuse to take part in any more “who will win the last spot on the roster?” storylines (this is not one of them, I swear—barring a miraculous turn of events and several injuries, Alcantara will not break camp with the team), let’s take a minute and see if Alcantara still has a chance to meet some of the expectations we hoisted upon the young man’s shoulders (and powerful wrists) a few years ago.

The hype train started two years ago, when Alcantara proved he could hold his own as a 21 year old at Double-A, slashing .271/.352/.451. That got him on the map and here’s what Baseball Prospectus had to say about him back then:

Arismendy Alcantara Profile

On cue, Alcantara went to Triple-A in 2014 and had his best season yet, slashing .307/.353/.537, and also stealing 21 bases. He was so good the Cubs called him up when Darwin Barney went on paternity leave and he stuck on the roster long enough to lose his rookie/prospect eligibility. Despite his disastrous debut that year—he was just 22 years old—Alcantara did enough to position himself for a role on the team when 2015 came around.

Then Joe Maddon got hired and that turned out to be a perfect storm for Alcantara, what with his newfound positional flexibility falling right into Maddon’s wheelhouse. The Cubs new manager was smitten:

I didn’t know who he was and he played really well against us last summer. And then I went up, like I said for the Cubs’ fest. I spent a week and actually watched a lot of video with the minor league coordinators. This guy is really impressive on film. Easy, easy kind of approach. Easy kind of a swing where the ball comes off hot. He plays a variety of positions and plays them well. Any time you get a guy that can play the middle of the infield and the middle of the outfield, that’s exciting to me.

We all know what happened after that: Alcantara hit .077 in 11 games before getting sent down to Triple-A, where his struggles continued. There was talk of losing his confidence, which is something he addressed in this interview during winter ball. He indicated confidence wasn’t the issue, but that he had to get back to enjoying the game and letting his natural talent take over.

If we take a step back and look at how his career has progressed, here’s what I see: a guy that was signed very young (16) that never repeated a level until last year, when he had his second go-round at Triple-A. Let’s face it: it was a complete disaster. But still—for a guy that young to have never repeated a level until he was 23 and in Triple-A is kind of shocking.

The story of his career is that he strikes out way too much and can’t control the strike zone enough to make up for it. The numbers back it up, and he’ll have to fix that if he wants to make much of himself:


So where does Alcantara stand today? Well, so far he’s having a good Spring. He’s slashing .348/.444/.391 with 4 Ks, 4 BBs, and 5 steals. Sure, it’s a small sample size, his slugging is way down, the games don’t count, and he probably won’t make the roster. But Maddon has given him plenty of at bats, so that’s a good sign.

As it stands, Alcantara is a young, versatile player that will treat this season as his chance to get back on the map. In a way, he’s lucky the Cub prospects that came before him have done so well because the team doesn’t need him. Because of that he won’t face the constant pressure of producing at the Major League level. Instead he gets to ship out to Iowa to try to find the fun in the game again.

I know not all prospects make it, but here’s one person that hopes Alcantara manages to pull it off.

Lead photo courtesy Matt Kartozian—USA Today Sports.

Related Articles

8 comments on “What’s Left For Arismendy Alcantara?”


I too have a soft spot for Mendy. I can’t imagine the metal battle to be taking selfies with Javy and Soler amid the first wave of “the future” then watch all your buddies move on white you’re sent back down.

I don’t wish any injury to Zionist obviously but it would be gratifying if he could have a Javy-like comeback and contribute to a historic year.

Carlos Portocarrero

I think he’ll definitely have a chance to contribute this season, but it all depends on how he adjusts in Triple-A.


If Mendy had hit AT ALL, he would have played alot last year. At one point we had alot of injuries and had to call up….Mike Baxter. When Mike Baxter beats you out, you’re not having a good year.

Here’s hoping he figures it out….


is Alcantara out of options

Carlos Portocarrero

No he is not, he still has an option left.


I agree, Carlos. Mendy is a very likable guy, and I hope he ends up succeeding.

Enjoy you on the podcast. One full hour of nothing but focused Cubs talk. I love it. Keep up the good work.

Carlos Portocarrero

Thanks Tommy! Good to hear we’re doing something right!

I’m hoping that he could make it back to the bigs with a trade to another team. Do the kid a favor cubbies, trade him

Leave a comment

Use your Baseball Prospectus username