The Detroit Tigers are in rebuilding mode. “Future Friday” is a segment where we examine the bevy of prospects in Detroit and their future impact in the Motor City.
The Detroit Tigers sold off a lot of veteran talent over the past year in exchange for prospects.
While it can be hard for fans to see all-stars like J.D. Martinez, Justin Upton and Alex Avila dealt, not to mention franchise icon Justin Verlander, the return can be an exciting batch of prospects who will become the next stars in Detroit.
‘Future Fridays,’ is a new weekly column where we pick a prospect and delve into their expected impact on the team. We want to help Tiger fans identify the newest wave of prospects as they move into rebuilding mode.
One of the most painful trades from last season was the departure of right fielder J.D. Martinez, who was shipped to the Diamondbacks for what felt like an underwhelming group of infield prospects. One of those was Dawel Lugo, a 23-year-old infielder who could make his debut as soon as this season. Another was 18-year-old Jose King, a shortstop prospect who is a ways away but has shown some intriguing numbers in the low minors.
The final piece was 21-year-old shortstop Sergio Alcantara, who is the subject of today’s Future Friday article.
Sergio Alcantara’s Profile
Of the three infield prospects the Tigers got for Martinez, Alcantara is the most likely to be a big league shortstop. That has nothing to do with his bat however, and everything to do with his glove. Alcantara can flat out play the position. He was given a 70-grade arm and a 60-grade glove by MLB pipeline, extremely high ratings for a 21-year-old who has yet to play at Double-A.
Alcantara may make the major leagues simply because of his glove, but he will need to hit at least a little bit if he ever wants to get regular at-bats. Alcantara saw 143 plate appearances at High-A after coming over to the Tigers. He hit .230 with a .307 on-base percentage and four steals. His 9.8% walk rate and 16.1% strikeout rate were both solid, but his complete lack of power (six home runs in well over 1,000 career at-bats) will hurt his value.
As of now, Alcantara projects as a glove-first utility infielder, similar to Dixon Machado. At 5’9 and 168 pounds, it’s hard to imagine him filling out enough to have legitimate home run power in the big leagues. As such, Alcantara will rely on his glove to reach his ceiling in the big leagues.
Path to the Big Leagues
The Tigers announced that Alcantara will begin the season at Double-A Erie. Lugo is likely the first infield prospect to get a call up if/when Jose Iglesias is traded. Additionally, Isaac Paredes is the infield prospect with the highest ceiling in Detroit’s farm. However, Alcantara’s glove and the relative lack of infielders in Detroit’s system should see him reach the big leagues in the next two years or so.
Many felt that the Detroit Tigers return for Martinez was light. The expectation is that if at least one of the prospects pans out into an everyday infielder, it won’t look as bad in retrospect.
If Alcantara is the guy who starts at SS in the future, expect it to be a similar situation to the glove-first set up they have now with Jose Iglesias and Dixon Machado.