Arismendy Alcantara was one of six players optioned to the minors Friday as part of the latest round of spring roster cuts. The Cubs trimmed the roster by 11 payers and officially have 45 players on the active roster that has to be reduced to 25 in two weeks.
Arismendy Alcantara broke camp with the Cubs a year ago and spent the first two-plus weeks of the season in the big leagues. Alcantara was optioned to Iowa on April 21 after hitting .077/.226/.077 in 11 games (2-for-26 with five walks, 11 strikeouts).
Outside of a good stretch in May (.281/.346/.491/.838, three doubles, three triples, five home runs), Alcantara was unable to turn things around last year. In 120 games for the I-Cubs, Alcantara hit .231/.285/.399 with 20 doubles, 10 triples and 12 home runs for a .683 OPS.
The Cubs hoped Alcantara would be able to hit the reset button in the off-season, make the necessary adjustments and get his career back on track this spring.
Arismendy Alcantara put up good numbers in Cactus League play. Alcantara was 9-for-27 with a double, four walks and five strikeouts (.333/.419/.370) in 14 games.
Joe Maddon addressed what he saw from Alcantara this spring after he was optioned to the minors.
“Some of it was better. The big thing with him obviously is before I had gotten here the damage he had done hitting left-handed. We’ve got to get him back with his left-handed stroke.”
“Talked to him about a couple of things. I thought he played pretty well this camp,” Maddon said. “The backhand bothered him twice. We talked about that. He’s such a gifted athlete. We just got to … truly we have to keep working with him on some … I don’t want to say minor things, but with his swing to be more consistent with the left-handed approach and the backhand.”
“I talked about all of that with him this morning. He’s a very talented kid we just got to get him pushed in the right direction.”
It’s easy to forget after last season that Alcantara was the first of the top prospects to make his big league debut. Alcantara turned what was supposed to be a two-day fill in for Darwin Barney while he was on maternity leave into an extended stay.
Kyle Hendricks was called up the next day. Anthony Rizzo tried to take on the entire Reds bench. Javier Baez and Jorge Soler made their debuts the next month. The Cubs finished the second half with a 33-35 record and actually looked like a Major League Baseball team for the first time in five years.
Arismendy Alcantara will spend this season on an optional assignment. He is out of options after this year. As Maddon said, Alcantara has a lot of talent. A good start to the season will go a long way toward rebuilding the confidence he lost last year.