Arismendy Alcántara is the second SF Giants alumni within the last week to move overseas. The Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in Nippon Professional Baseball announced that they signed the veteran middle infielder to a contract.
Nippon-Ham Fighters sign former SF Giants infield prospect
The terms of the deal are not yet known but it is interesting to note that so many fringe major leaguers are choosing to play overseas next season. For Alcántara, moving to Japan gives him a little more stability than the unknown that comes with a baseball lockout.
The middle infield prospect was originally signed as a 17-year-old shortstop by the Chicago Cubs out of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic in 2008. Alcántara was considered one of the top prospects in baseball at one point, ranking as high as No. 83 according to Baseball Prospectus prior to the 2014 season.
He debuted with the Cubs in 2014 where he posted a rough .621 OPS with 10 home runs and 29 RBI in 300 plate appearances. He would only see 32 more plate appearances with the Cubs before being shipped to the Oakland A's in a deal that brought Chris Coughlan back to Oakland.
Since then, he has made stops with the Cincinnati Reds, New York Mets, and Los Angeles Angels before agreeing to a minor-league pact with the Giants prior to the 2021 season. The 30-year-old infielder hits from both sides of the plate and has pro experience at every position with the exception of first base and catcher, so he brought a lot of potential versatility to the table for San Francisco.
He did not make the club out of camp, but he was assigned to the Sacramento River Cats where he became a key cog for the lineup. In 255 plate appearances, Alcántara slashed .280/.337/.586 with 17 home runs, 52 RBI, and 43 runs scored. This included one of the most impressive home runs on record in recent memory.
Despite his stellar output, the middle infielder did not receive a promotion to the Giants. There was a very good reason for this as the Giants rattled off 107 wins in the regular season to secure the National West title.
They received plenty of value from a contingent of middle infielders including Brandon Crawford, Donovan Solano, Tommy La Stella, and Wilmer Flores. There was no room to add a player like Alcántara to the roster. In a different season, there may have been plenty of chances to add the switch-hitter but not in 2021. He will now move to a different environment with the hopes of showing off the type of upside that once made him a top prospect.