Results tagged ‘ Arismendy Alcantara ’

Smokies primed for a competitive run

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The Smokies return slugger Justin Bour. (Photo by Rodger Wood)

Coming off of a 2011 Florida State League title, many believed the Tennessee Smokies were destined to repeat in 2012. But that didn’t happen, as the team hovered around .500 for much of the year, finishing 72-68.

This year’s Smokies might not have the hype of the 2012 squad, but after retaining 17 players and adding a few highly touted prospects, a league title could again be in their sights.

The 2013 offense is fronted by a few key returnees in Justin Bour and Matt Szczur. Bour, a 24-year-old first baseman, was the rock in the middle of the order last season, hitting .283/.360/.455 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with 17 homers and a franchise-record 110 driven in. If he’s not moved up, he could near that RBI total again, especially considering Szczur and newcomer Arismendy Alcantara will bat ahead of him in the lineup.

Former fifth-round pick Szczur was all over Single-A hitting before his call-up last season. Though he struggled at Double-A (.210/.285/.357 in 35 games), he performed well in the Arizona Fall League, hitting .264 and drawing 14 walks in 105 at-bats. He also stole nine bases.

The 21-year-old Alcantara was promoted after a stellar 2012 in Daytona, where he hit .302/.339/.447 with 13 doubles and swiped 25 bags. The versatile infielder will likely line up at short, and he’s a tough out at the plate.

Alberto Cabrera is a Tennessee newcomer who will head a rotation that features three returnees. The 24-year-old Cabrera pitched in relief for the first time in his career last season and reached the majors, where he went 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in 21.2 innings. Eric Jokisch, Dae-Eun Rhee, Dallas Beeler and call-up Kyle Hendricks round out the starting staff.

Buddy Bailey returns to manage the Smokies, who play Friday night at 7 p.m. CST. Here’s the roster Bailey will have to work with to start season:

PITCHERS
Frank Batista RHP
Dallas Beeler RHP
Alberto Cabrera RHP
Marcus Hatley RHP
Kyle Hendricks RHP
Eric Jokisch LHP
Trey McNutt RHP
A.J. Morris RHP
Kevin Rhoderick RHP
Dae-Eun Rhee RHP
Zach Rosscup LHP
Brian Schlitter RHP
Tony Zych RHP

CATCHERS
Jair Fernandez
Rafael Lopez

INFIELDERS
Arismendy Alcantara
Justin Bour
Anthony Giansanti
Jonathan Mota
Elliot Soto
Tim Torres
Christian Villanueva

OUTFIELDERS
Johermyn Chavez
Jae-Hoon Ha
Rubi Silva
Matt Szczur

Alcantara in the lineup for Cubs

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At this point in Spring Training, the lineup card starts to get a little repetitive. David DeJesus, Anthony Rizzo and Alfonso Soriano—in some variation—will be in the lineup. So whenever a new name enters the fray, it’s cause for excitement. With Starlin Castro out, as his girlfriend gives birth to their first child, top prospect Arismendy Alcantara will get the nod Thursday.

While Castro will undoubtedly be the Cubs Opening Day shortstop (he’s expected to rejoin the team in Houston), this gives the management group another opportunity to evaluate the 21-year-old minor league infielder. In Vine Line‘s February prospectus issue, we broke down more than 60 Cubs prospects, and Alcantara was among the group. Here’s what we said about him:

Ht/Wt: 5-10/160    •    B/T: S/R
Born: 10/29/91 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Acquired: 2008 NDFA

Alcantara popped onto the radar last season at just 20 years old with a hit tool that played up in the Florida State League. He has a lot of strengths, including a line-drive bat from both sides of the plate, a middle-of-the-field profile and good speed. Though he’s not big, he has sneaky strength and some surprising power. Alcantara has good range, and his arm rates at least plus, but his footwork (the cause of many of his throwing errors) was a focus during fall instructs. Overall, it’s an exciting package—watch for him in a loaded middle infield at Double-A Tennessee.

Alcantara hit .302/.339/.447 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with seven home runs, 51 RBI and 25 stolen bases in High-A Daytona last season.

He’ll be batting ninth as the Cubs bid farewell to HoHoKam Stadium Thursday, before heading east to Houston to finish out the spring. Carlos Villanueva will start for the North Siders, opposite Seattle’s Hisashi Iwakuma. The game can be seen on Comcast SportsNet or fans can go to Cubs.com to listen live. Here’s the lineup the Cubs will be sending out Thursday:

CF David DeJesus
2B Darwin Barney
1B Anthony Rizzo
LF Alfonso Soriano
RF Nate Schierholtz
C Dioner Navarro
3B Luis Valbuena
DH Scott Hairston
SS Arismendy Alcantara

ESPN unveils top 10 Cubs prospects

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ESPN Insider’s Keith Law named Paul Blackburn the Cubs’ No. 9 prospect. (Photo courtesy of Heritage High School)

All week long, ESPN Insider’s Keith Law has been releasing his 2013 prospect rankings. His lists came to a conclusion Thursday, when he unveiled his top 10 prospects by team in the National League.

The Cubs’ farm system—ranked No. 5 in baseball, according to Law—was likely rewarded for a group of high-ceiling prospects at the top of the list. In his team breakdown, Law praised the club’s use of trades, international spending and the draft.

They’ve turned around substantially after trading Paul Maholm, spending lavishly on international free agents (when permitted) and drafting well in 2012, although most of what I like about this system is a good two years away. … They’re another good trade deadline and draft class away from the point where you can begin to see a turnaround in the majors.

Law believes Arodys Vizcaino (No. 64 prospect overall), who is still rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, could be a nice addition to the bullpen in 2013, but he doesn’t see anyone else contributing this season. Still, many of the other prospects on the list could jump into his Top 100 prospects in time.

Aside from Jeimer Candelario, whom I discussed yesterday on the list of guys who just missed, I could see any of these guys jumping into the top 100: Juan Carlos Paniagua, who sits in the mid-90s with a plus slider but has very little pro experience after two years of suspensions; Duane Underwood, drafted at 17 and flashing velocity up to 96 with a very athletic body and quick arm; or Arismendy Alcantara, a plus runner and thrower who might end up at third but shows pop from both sides of the plate.

Below are Law’s top 10 prospects in the Cubs system:

1. Javier Baez, SS
2. Albert Almora, CF
3. Jorge Soler, RF
4. Arodys Vizcaino, RHP
5. Jeimer Candelario, 3B
6. Duane Underwood, RHP
7. Juan Carlos Paniagua, RHP
8. Pierce Johnson, RHP
9. Paul Blackburn, RHP
10. Arismendy Alcantara, SS

Baseball America unveils top Cubs prospects

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Outfield prospect Albert Almora ranks No. 2 on Baseball America’s Top 10 Cubs prospects. (Photo by Jason Wise)

Every year, Baseball America breaks down each major league organization’s top 10 prospects. Earlier this week, Jim Callis unveiled his list for the Cubs.

The Cubs organization has undergone a dramatic overhaul since Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer took over in October 2011, and this prospect list is a perfect example. Five of the top 10 players are new to the list—and the organization—this year.

The top portion of the rankings offers few surprises, with infielder Javier Baez, outfielders Albert Almora and Jorge Soler, and pitcher Arodys Vizcaino at No. 1 through 4. Baez was the team’s 2011 first-round pick, and Almora was the top pick in 2012. Soler was signed as a non-drafted free agent this summer, while Vizcaino was acquired from the Braves in a deal for Paul Maholm. All four are expected to be major contributors to the future of the organization, and Vizcaino, on his way back from Tommy John surgery, should be a member of the Cubs’ big league squad in 2013.

Outfielder Brett Jackson, who got his first taste of the big leagues this past season, was ranked No. 5. Despite showing flashes of good play in 2012, he struggled in his major league debut, hitting just .175 and striking out 59 times in 120 at-bats. But his stellar play in the outfield and work ethic keep him at the top of most Cubs prospect lists.

Right-handed pitcher Pierce Johnson, slugging first baseman Dan Vogelbach and infielder Jeimer Candelario were ranked sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively.

The 32-year-old Japanese import Kyuji Fujikawa comes in at No. 9. Though he has no major league experience, the longtime NPB pitcher will break camp with the major league club out of Spring Training and likely inhabit a late-innings role. Infielder Arismendy Alcantara rounds out the list.

For more information on the prospects, a list of players with the best particular tools and a projected 2016 lineup, click the link above.

Winter League Highlights: Valbuena tough in losing effort

VALBUENA

(Photo by Stephen Green)

With the leagues in Mexico and Puerto Rico off Monday, there was limited Cubs action in the Caribbean. But a familiar name was in the highlights again.

Despite his team taking a 2-1 loss, infielder Luis Valbuena came to play for Cardenales de Lara of the Venezuelan league. The 27-year-old led off the second inning with a double to center but was left stranded. He then drew a walk to load the bases in the third and drew another in the sixth. In the eighth inning, he singled, advanced to second on a bunt and swiped third base.

Valbuena finished the day 2-for-2 with a double and a pair of walks. His .468 on-base percentage still leads the league, and his .336 batting average and 12 doubles both rank second.

Other highlights around the Caribbean:

Arismendy Alcantara came in as a pinch-runner in the ninth inning for Licey of the Dominican league and scored the game-tying run in a 5-4 win.

Winter League Highlights: Sappelt just misses a cycle

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After battling rain delays all last week, Dave Sappelt‘s Bravos de Margarita team in the Venezuelan league finally got back onto the field over the weekend. Apparently the layoff didn’t hurt the Cubs outfielder, who went 3-for-4 with four RBI and two runs scored, falling just a triple short of the cycle, as the Bravos beat the Tiburones 11-9 on Saturday. On Sunday, Sappelt went 2-for-4, raising his winter batting average to .274, in a 6-3 loss to the Cardenales de Lara.

In his first year in Chicago, Sappelt made a good case for a spot on the 2013 roster, hitting .275 with a .351 on-base percentage in 78 major league plate appearances.

Other highlights around the Caribbean:

Cubs reliever Michael Bowden continued to prove he might have a future as a starter in the Aguilas Cibaenas 14-1 win over Licey on Sunday in the Dominican. Bowden scattered five hits and surrendered only one earned run in seven innings. He walked two and struck out five. Bowden is now 3-2 with a 3.25 ERA in six Dominican league starts.

Junior Lake hit a three-run home run and scored twice for the first-place Estrellas in a 5-1 victory over Licey on Saturday. Arismendy Alcantara slugged a solo shot for the losing side in the same game. Lake is hitting .333 with four homers, 17 RBI and nine stolen bases on the winter.

Winter League Highlights: Lake does damage in losing effort

Cubs prospect Junior Lake has crushed pitching in his native Dominican Republic this offseason. The infielder has spent much of the winter ball campaign as Estrellas de Oriente’s designated hitter and currently owns a .363/.409/.513 (AVG/OBP/SLG) slash line with six doubles and six stolen bases in 80 at-bats. So Monday was just more of the same for the 22-year-old. He went 3-for-4, scoring from second on a single in the fourth inning to record the team’s only run in a 6-1 loss. He got into scoring position by stealing second after a base hit.

Others who participated in Dominican League action include Arismendy Alcantara, Nelson Perez and Jeffry Antigua. Alcantara entered his game as a pinch-runner in the ninth for Tigres del Licey, scoring on a single in a winning effort. Lake’s teammate Perez went 0-for-1 in a pitch-hit appearance for Estrella de Oriente. And Antigua came on in relief Monday for Toros del Este, surrendering a solo home run in 2/3 of an inning.

Cubs All-Star Recap

Josh Vitters took part in Wednesday night’s Triple-A All-Star Game, wrapping up the Midsummer Classics for each level of the Cubs organization. Vine Line recapped how Cubs players and prospects performed in their respective All-Star Games.

Major League All-Star Game:

Starlin Castro: 0-for-1, flied out to center, two defensive innings played
Bryan LaHair: 0-for-1, ground out to shortstop, three defensive innings played

MLB Futures Game:

Jae-Hoon Ha: 2-for-2, HR, 2 RBI, R, started at CF

Triple-A All-Star Game:

Josh Vitters: 0-for-1, BB, K, four defensive innings played

Double-A Southern League All-Star Game:

Jim Adduci: 2-for-2, double, RBI, four defensive innings played
Frank Batista: 2/3 IP, 0 R
Justin Bour: 1-for-3, BB, started at DH
Kevin Rhoderick: 1 IP, BB, 0 R

Single-A Florida State League All-Star Game:

Arismendy Alcantara: 0-for-1, three defensive innings
Austin Kirk: 1 IP, 0 R, starting pitcher
Nelson Perez: 1-for-3, double, RBI, BB, started at left field
Greg Rohan: 0-for-4, started at DH

Single-A Midwest League All-Star Game:

Kyler Burke: 2/3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER
Zeke DeVoss: 0-for-1, three defensive innings played
Paul Hoilman: 0-for-2, started at 1B

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