Breaking Down The Prospects Acquired In The Yankees-Cubs Anthony Rizzo Trade
After acquiring Joey Gallo from the Rangers on Wednesday, the Yankees struck again on Thursday to add some lefthanded balance to what is a predominantly righthanded lineup by trading two prospects to the Cubs in exchange for first baseman Anthony Rizzo. The move also helps shore up the team’s infield situation by allowing DJ LeMahieu to play positions other than first base.
This season, Rizzo has posted a .746 OPS (114 OPS+) through his first 92 games. Notably, as the Yankees try to stay under the competitive balance tax, the Cubs—as reported by the YES Network—will assume the remainder of Rizzo’s salary. The 31-year-old Rizzo has been excellent against lefthanders this year, posting a .968 OPS against southpaws.
Taking on the remaining salary meant the Cubs got a better package of prospects from the Yankees, including high-octane righthander Alexander Vizcaino and tooled-up teenaged outfielder Kevin Alcantara. The pair ranked No. 12 and 14, respectively, on the Yankees’ midseason Top 30 list.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B
What’s better than acquiring one lefty masher at the trade deadline? Acquiring two lefty mashers at the trade deadline. When healthy, the Yankees can now stack Aaron Judge, Gallo, Giancarlo Stanton and Rizzo in the middle of their order. Suddenly, their lineup becomes a lot more ferocious and, perhaps more crucially, a lot more balanced. Rizzo also gives the Yankees a rock-solid defender at first base (he’s won four Gold Gloves) and allows for more flexibility at the other spots around the infield, with Gleyber Torres, DJ LeMahieu and Gio Urshela.
Alexander Vizcaino, RHP
Vizcaino dealt with a shoulder impingement to start the season, but when healthy can run his fastball up to 99 mph and back it with a slider scouts have graded as high as a 70 on the 20-80 scale. He’s had trouble finding consistency with his slider, and the Yankees tweaked the pitch’s grip this season to try to find more consistency. The Yankees were high enough on Vizcaino’s potential that they brought him to their alternate training site in 2020 despite the fact that he had not pitched above High-A. At the ATS, the team’s pitching instructors also added hip turn to his delivery in an effort to keep him on-line toward home plate.
Kevin Alcantara, OF
Alcantara was part of a treasure trove of players the Yankees signed in 2018, and boasted one of the highest ceilings in the group. His body reminds some evaluators of Marlins outfielder Lewis Brinson. He makes hard contact when he connects, but the Yankees were working with him to help him become more selective when he chooses to swing. He’s a long strider in the outfield and has plenty of speed to chase balls in center field. Alcantara has a high ceiling and will also require a lot more polish—the lost 2020 season was especially damaging to the development of younger, more untested players like him—but if it all comes together the Cubs could have a very intriguing player on their hands.