- Full name Raúl Alcántara
- Born 12/04/1992 in Barahona, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 6'4" / Wt.: 220 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- Debut 09/05/2016
Organization Prospect Rankings
Acquired along with Josh Reddick from the Red Sox in 2011 for Andrew Bailey, Alcantara was on a fast track before Tommy John surgery cost him virtually all of 2014. The A's were careful with him in 2015, not allowing him to throw his slider. He was back to full health in 2016 with a full arsenal, and finished the year in the majors. Alcantara has never had trouble throwing strikes and has above-average control of a four-pitch mix. After struggling at Double-A Midland, Alcantara broke through at Triple-A Nashville, flashing 97 mph with his fastball while sitting 92-94 and showing a changeup with above-average potential. The slider was back and firm, in the upper 80s, with bottom to it at its best. He mixes in a rare curveball as well. Still, none of his pitches consistently misses bats, and opponents hit .277 against him overall on the year. Consistency of his offspeed stuff will be the key for Alcantara, who was hit hard in five starts in the majors, allowing nine homers in just 22.1 innings. He logged a career-high 158 innings, showing he's back to full strength, and will compete for a rotation spot in 2017.
No sooner had Alcantara established himself as one of Oakland's best young arms than his momentum was stopped cold by Tommy John surgery, causing him to miss essentially the entire 2014 season. The good news was his velocity returned intact. He threw 88-90 mph in his first few outings after coming back but was back into the 92-95 range by the end of the year, touching 96. His fading changeup had been his out pitch before the surgery, and while he was searching to regain his feel for it, the Athletics still see it as a future plus offering. He also developed a quality cutter--sometimes labeled a slider--before the operation, but A's felt it might have contributed to his breaking down and hadn't allowed him to start using it again. He also has a usable curveball. Despite the injury, he throws with an easy delivery that wouldn't appear to lend itself to health problems, and the A's also like his sharp mind for the game and attention to detail. Already a part of the 40-man roster, he'll take on Double-A Midland in 2016.
Alcantara joined the organization in the Andrew Bailey-Josh Reddick deal with the Red Sox in 2011 and had a big 2013 at two Class A levels, prompting the Athletics to protect him on the 40-man roster. Tommy John surgery halted his momentum in 2014. When healthy, Alcantara showed a solid four-pitch mix and a smooth, repeatable delivery. His fastball and changeup highlight his repertoire, the heater sitting in the low 90s and topping out at 95 mph, while his changeup looked like a plus pitch with fading action. He had been working to improve his slider, getting more depth on it, and he also had a serviceable curveball. Alcantara's rehab has him on track to get back on the mound by July 2015. The A's won't expect much from him this year, but he has the potential to be a mid-rotation starter.
The lowest-profile component of the three-player package the Athletics received from the Red Sox for Andrew Bailey in December 2011, joining the organization along with Josh Reddick and Miles Head, Alcantara now stands as Oakland's best pitching prospect after a big 2013. Hit hard in 2012, he dominated at low Class A Beloit in a followup. The A's attribute much of Alcantara's improvement to staying more on line to the plate and finishing his pitches better. He now throws with a smooth, repeatable delivery and commands the zone with fastballs that sit 92-93 mph and top out at 95. He sells his plus changeup with fading action well. He was able to turn his slider and curveball into distinct offerings last season, with the slider the more promising of the two, flashing plus at times. Scouts also noted a difference in Alcantara's mound presence, another issue in 2012. The A's added Alcantara to the 40-man roster after 2013, and he'll probably begin 2014 back at high Class A Stockton but could reach Double-A Midland at some point. He has the makings of a possible mid-rotation starter and could be ready for Oakland by mid-2015.
Alcantara was named the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League pitcher of the year in 2011 before the Red Sox packaged him with Josh Reddick and Miles Head to acquire Andrew Bailey that December. Pitching at age 19 in low Class A last year, Alcantara was hit hard in his first exposure to full-season hitters and didn't show much mound presence. Neverthless, the A's thought he made progress. He sharpened the command of his 90-95 mph fastball, though the pitch needs more movement. He has a quality changeup with depth and armside run. His hard slider shows promise but gets slurvy at times, and he needs to locate it better. He'll even mix in a mid-70s curveball early in the count. Alcantara throws with a balanced, easy motion, and the ball jumps out of his hand. He already throws strikes but must improve his command. After limiting him to 100 innings last year, Oakland will look to build him up further in high Class A.
Alcantara has filled up his trophy case since signing out of the Dominican Republic for $500,000 in 2009. The Red Sox named him their minor league Latin program pitcher of the year in his pro debut, and the Gulf Coast League honored him as its pitcher of the year in his first year in the United States. Last summer, he led the GCL in ERA (0.75), WHIP (0.60) and opponent average (.147). Though he's far from a finished product, Alcantara is advanced for his age and has one of the highest ceilings among Boston's lowerlevel minor leaguers. Using an easy arm action and sound delivery, he pitches off a 90-95 mph fastball. His hard slider has the makings of a plus pitch, while he's still refining his changeup. He already throws strikes with ease, so the next step is improving his ability to locate his pitches where he wants. Alcantara earned a promotion to Lowell last August and could push for a low Class A assignment this spring.
Minor League Top Prospects
On both a prospect and a performance level, Alcantara was one of the top pitchers in the GCL. He led the league in ERA (0.75), WHIP (0.60) and opponent average (.147), earning a promotion to the NY-P in August. Alcantara has projectable size and repeats his sound delivery well, allowing him to fill the strike zone. He throws 90-95 mph and does a good job of pitching off his fastball and locating it for a young pitcher. He also has a curveball that some scouts project as a plus pitch and a changeup that could be at least an average offering, though he didn't miss as many bats as his pure stuff would suggest.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Control in the Oakland Athletics in 2014
- Rated Best Changeup in the Oakland Athletics in 2014