As one of the longest tenured Cubs prospects, Alcantara has withstood the test of new organizational leadership and come out smelling like roses. Signed out of the Dominican Republic as a SS in 2008, he is just now consolidating his enormous skills and turning them into measurable performance. Let's take a look at his lifetime statistics, courtesy of baseball-reference.com:
WIthin the scope of things, we notice several things:
1. The Cubs have been moving him one level each year, allowing him to lock in his gains and build on them at the next level without getting overwhelmed.
2. With an October 1991 birthday, Alcantara is now ready to build the skill development and turn it into performance at the major league level.
The consolidation of several elements in Alcantara's toolbag came to light during a stellar 2013 campaign. He increased his walk rate to 8.2% while vastly increasing his power output, with a .451 SLG rate, good for a .804 OPS.
The fantasy goodness, however, comes in the fact that he hit 15 HR and was successful on 81% of his stolen base attempts, tallying 31 SB on the season. Factoring in that he can play at 2b, SS, 3b, and OF, he will at some point force the Cubs hand and add some magic to their lineup. When you look at their current OF construction, it screams replace with upside/low cost option. Nate Schierholtz, Junior Lake, and Emilio Bonifacio are all fine as players, but Alcantara offers quite a bit of upside to those names.
Overall, the Alcantara three outcomes shape up this way:
Best Case: Desmond Jennings. Alcantara's tools develop enough to be a 20/20 threat and his plus arm in CF becomes a true weapon.
Most Likely: Will Venable. He struggles with the propensity to K, and the walk rate doesn't continue to develop.Has seasons where he will hit .280, but his propensity to K gets the better of him and keeps the avg low.
Floor: Dexter Fowler. Good fantasy player in deep leagues, as he gives lots of counting stats(HR, SB) but hurts in average and Rs due to possibly hitting lower in the lineup. Struggles with avg, k%, and ultimately loses time due to platoons, which lessens his fantasy impact.
The wild card in all of this is the position. If he moves to OF, it puts considerably more pressure on his bat to continue to develop, whereas if he stays in the middle of the infield, he could be an 1st division regular for years to come, with a few All Star campaigns mixed in.