Alcantara was one of three shortstops the Tigers received from Arizona in the trade that sent J.D. Martinez to the Diamondbacks in 2017. Detroit protected the 22-year-old from the Rule V Draft that November by adding him to their 40-Man Roster. Alcantara’s first option year is in effect in 2018, and he has spent the entire season with the Tigers’ Double-A Erie affiliate in the Eastern League. I saw him in a three-game series against Bowie in late July.
Undersized and wiry at 5’9’’ and 170 pounds, Alcantara knows his strengths at the plate. He won’t ever hit for power, but the switch hitter makes a lot of contact and puts the bat on the ball from both sides of the plate. It’s a slappy, singles-power profile with a swing-happy approach, and Alcantara has the look of a player who will both walk and strikeout below league average rates at the big league level—typical for free-swinging contact-over-power types. There are questions about how much the bat will play, but no one doubts his defensive ability. Alcantara has excellent body control and footwork, with the instincts to make plays anywhere in the infield. Despite his diminutive stature, he showed the loudest throwing arm I have seen from a left-side infielder this year. Alcantara played second base all series (deferring to Detroit’s 19-year-old shortstop prospect Isaac Paredes at shortstop), but uncorked some absolute rockets from the backhand during early work and an infield/outfield session. You’d think that a short gloveman would also be a plus runner, but Alcantara has wheels that grade closer to average than above. He contributes some stolen bases on feel and can take the extra base but isn’t a true burner.
The ability to make contact and contribute value with the glove give Alcantara a high floor. At the very least, he projects as a utility infielder who can spot-start for a regular at any infield spot. If he can get the hit tool to 50+ and reach base at a near-average clip, the defensive ability at shortstop makes him a lesser everyday big leaguer.