The SF Giants have reportedly signed utilityman Arismendy Alcantara to a minor-league deal. With experience all over the field, he could be a versatile bench piece for manager Gabe Kapler.
According to a report by Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area, the SF Giants have agreed to terms on a minor-league contract with Arismendy Alcantara. The switch-hitter will get a chance in Spring Training to compete for a spot on the Giants Opening Day roster. In our offseason primer, Alcantara was listed among the 15 minor-league free agents that could help the Giants in 2021.
Once a top prospect in the Chicago Cubs system, Alcantara could be a solid defensive shortstop with above-average hitting ability. In 2013, Alcantara spent the entire season at Double-A while he was just 21-years old. He hit .271/.352/.451, blasted 36 doubles, 4 triples, and 15 home runs while swiping 31 bases. Entering 2014, he was ranked by many outlets among the top-100 prospects in baseball.
After nearly posting a .900 OPS over 89 games at Triple-A, Alcantara made his big-league debut with the Cubs. He managed 10 home runs in his 70 games but saw everything else move in the wrong direction. His strikeout rate spiked to roughly 30%, and he managed an abysmal .205/.254/.367 triple-slash.
While he’s oscillated between Triple-A and the majors over the six years since (with a one-year hiatus in the Mexican League), Alcantara has yet to have big-league success. He has over 459 plate appearances, 150 strikeouts, just 24 walks, and an abysmal .189 batting average. Even his base-stealing prowess has struggled to translate to the highest level, stealing just 14 bases on 22 attempts.
With that said, Alcantara just turned 29-years old in October and still has an intriguing set of tools. In 2019, with the Mets Triple-A affiliate, Alcantara hit .286/.354/.480 and stole 21 bases on 24 attempts while posting one of the highest walk-rates (9.4%) and isolated power (.215) of his career.
Perhaps most intriguing to the Giants, though, is his defensive flexibility. In 2019, Alcantara played second base, shortstop, third base, left field, center field, and right field in the minors. It wasn’t the first time he’d played all around the diamond in his career either. While he is far from an elite defensive player, he can play competently all over the field. Alcantara seems like an obvious fit for a front-office that has prioritized defensive versatility in the past.
The SF Giants have had great success with minor-league free agents in recent years. While that’s far from a guarantee of future success, Arismendy Alcantara has the prospect pedigree, a strong history of success at Triple-A, and defensive flexibility that could make him an excellent swiss-army knife for the big-league team.