When we last checked in on Alcantara he was set to toe the rubber for his first season at the Double-A level. 125 1/3 innings pitched and 105 strikeouts later, Alcantara looks every bit the middle-to-top-of-the-rotation prospect we anticipated. The double-plus stuff has always been intriguing, and as the long, lanky body has matured a bit we’ve been treated to good growth and maturity in the profile. He is still very slender, but the athleticism is readily apparent, making it really easy to dream on this kid’s stuff continuing to improve.
Alcantara sat 96-102 mph with his fastball during the Fall Stars Game in Arizona a couple weeks ago, and while that was in a short, two-inning burst, the life and heft has taken a step forward – a point that should be more interesting that the pure velocity. The mechanics are still smooth, albeit with some athletic effort, and the arm speed is elite. The power curve and slider will run together at times, but he showed some feel to use both and expand the zone when he got ahead in the count.
Alcantara’s swing and miss numbers took a little bit of a dive in 2017, going from 11.2 SO/9 between Class A and High A to 7.6 SO/9 through 125 1/3 innings at Double-A. However, given the quality of his stuff, him being ahead of the curve age-wise, and his command in the zone being a point that has always needed improvement, it is not a huge surprise. That said, the more advanced bats he will face in 2018 in the big leagues are not going to chase the breaking stuff out of the zone unless Alcantara can show he can locate the fastball. His stuff his already very hard to square up, but once he starts consistently executing to both sides the of the plate, expect the K numbers to climb and the hit totals to fall.