Let's take a look at 10 of the most important attributes that should help to indicate what a prospect’s future might hold. Players are ranked on a scale of 1-10 by their qualities for each aspect, accumulating in a final prospect grade. Grades are based on what prospects can bring to the table from the current position they are projected to play in the major leagues.
Without further ado, let’s find out if Arismendy Alcantara makes the grade…
1) Baseball IQ – When asked to transition to 2B for the arrival of Javier Baez at Double-A, Alcantara took the change in stride and didn’t miss a beat at the plate, a great sign for handling pressure. However, one scout’s take on his game-play was that although fast, his base-running IQ still needs to improve. Rating: 9 out of 10.
2) Batting-Eye – Alcantara is said to have a nice smooth swing, but is also a free swinger. His pitch selection and plate discipline could still improve. Alcantara’s walk rates have been down throughout his career in the minors, but saw nice improvements during the 2013 season. Rating: 8 out of 10.
3) Hit-Tool –Considered to possess a solid hit-tool, Alcantara has never hit below .270 in a season while in the minors. Scouts are torn between what the prospect could provide with the average when in the majors. After hitting in the .270’s 3-out-of-5 seasons in the minors, that seems to be a good starting point. Rating: 8 out of 10.
4) Power – Scouts are amazed at the power this prospect contains for his size. If the 15 HR potential carries over into the big leagues, Alcantara could become a great fantasy option for the excellent mix of power and speed he contributes. Rating: 8 out of 10.
5) Speed – The second baseman is a threat to steal every time he reaches base. Alcantara has plus speed and has accumulated 56 SB’s during the past 2 seasons in the minors. 30 SB’s per year are very attainable for the switch-hitting prospect. Rating: 9 out of 10.
6) Body – Second baseman are usually the smaller group of position players, and at 5’10” and 160 pounds, Alcantara is no exception. It is hard for scouts to believe in the power potential with his size, until they see it live and in person. It will be important for the prospect’s body to continue filling out as he gets older. Rating: 8 out of 10.
7) Durability – Alcantara returned strong in 2013 after missing time with an injury the previous season. He was able to log 133 games played, by far the highest total of his young career. It will be interesting to see how his body holds up over the course of a big league season. Rating: 9 out of 10.
8) Ceiling – To give you an idea of the potential here, Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus gave the second baseman a comp to that of a Jose Reyes-lite. Whether you are reading this as a Cubs’ fan or a fantasy owner, that news should get your attention in a hurry. Rating: 10 out of 10.
9) Floor – As with most prospects, there is a decent amount of risk here. Will his small frame hold up over the course of a major league season? Will the power translate in big league ball parks? Will the plate discipline ever improve? Despite the questions, it would be surprising if Alcantara doesn’t become a starter in the big leagues for a long time. Rating: 8 out of 10.
10) Future – With the abundance of top hitting prospects in this system, it will be interesting to see how management will find everyone a position. With Starlin Casto and Javier Baez on the roster, Alcantara will most likely fit in at 2B, unless a shake-up or a trade clears up SS. Either way, the combo of power and speed will play well in the middle infield. Rating: 8 out of 10.
Overall Grade: 85% - B
Future Outlook: Alcantara spent most of the 2013 season playing SS for the Double-A Tennessee Smokies, but was moved to second base when Javier Baez joined the team. There are now rumors that Baez could be switched to second base in order to fit into the big league lineup. Although Baez is the more publicized prospect, Arismendy is further along, and will likely get his shot before Baez. Alcantara has surprising power in that body to go with plus speed. That became apparent after hitting 15 HR’s with 31 SB’s this past year in Double-A. 2013 was a big year for the prospect, as he earned all-star honors in the Southern League and a trip to the Future’s Game. A promotion to AAA to start the 2014 season is likely. Darwin Barney isn’t much of a roadblock, so we could see a changing of the guard at 2B in Chicago in the near future. Hopefully, Alcantara will take over at the position and firmly plant himself there for the next decade. This prospect could become a top 10 fantasy option at second base for a long time.