Cubs’ Kevin Alcantara Excites With Immense Potential

Outfielder Kevin Alcantara’s impressive 2022 season excited Cubs officials eager to watch him participate in his first major league spring training.

And Alcantara is motivated by the opportunity to improve against elite competition.

“I’m going to participate with a big league team and learn from them,” Alcantara said. “Honestly, I don’t even know how to describe the happiness I feel right now.”

The 20-year-old Alcantara, acquired from the Yankees as part of the Anthony Rizzo trade at the July 2021 trade deadline, validated his potential by hitting 15 home runs and stealing 14 bases for Low-A Myrtle Beach in 2022.

“I know it was a big trade,” Alcantara told fans at the Cubs fan convention. “At the same time, I’ve been playing this game since I was 5.”

Before reporting to Arizona, the 6-foot-6, 188-pound Alcantara spent the winter in his native Dominican Republic with a trainer, adding muscle without losing the speed that prompted him to call himself “the Jaguar.”

The Cubs hope spring training will provide a stage that has seen the likes of Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras blossom.

“He’s got a couple years until he’s going to matriculate up, but he carries himself like a big leaguer already and has talent oozing out of his ears,” Cubs general manager Carter Hawkins said.

Alcantara’s speed enables him to play center field with ease, but he’s open to playing at either corner. At the same time, his .360 on-base percentage in 2022 was offset by a strikeout rate near 25% that he’ll attempt to lower at High-A South Bend in 2023.

“He’s incredibly young,” said Cubs hitting coach Dustin Kelly, who served as the minor league hitting coordinator for the last two seasons. “He hasn’t played very much stateside, so to have that assignment at Myrtle Beach and put up that season was very impressive.

“We knew what he was capable of, but for him to show up and do it every day was pretty fun to watch.”

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