Detroit Tigers 40-Man Roster Preview: Sergio Alcantara
Part of the return for JD Martinez, Sergio Alcantara looks to handle shortstop for Toledo in 2020
A short time ago, Sergio Alcantara appeared on most prospect lists one could come across on the Detroit Tigers. A year later, he is looking to justify his spot on the Tigers’ 40-man roster.
Alcantara arrived in 2017 after being part of a trio of shortstops acquired by Detroit in the infamous deal which sent slugger JD Martinez to the Arizona Diamondbacks. He would start in the organization at High-A Lakeland, where he would hit .230/.307/.278 in his final 35 games after the trade.
This trend would continue in the following years; where he would hit in the mid-.200’s, take some walks, and hit for almost no power each year thereafter. He was in Double-A for the second consecutive season in 2019 and has shared shortstop duties with teammate Cole Peterson, who is also known as a defensive whiz. It remains to be seen on whether the Tigers will split them up between levels or allow them to do more of the same for Triple-A Toledo, where they would likely form a double-play combination.
The Tigers seem to love these wiry-framed, light-hitting shortstops. Because the position is such a premium one defensively, teams like Detroit were once willing to sacrifice some pop for an elite glove. This strategy is a bit of an antique in today’s game, as we have seen young, athletic players like Corey Seager, Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Marcus Semien hit for power and average while still showing great defensive capabilities.
What does this mean for someone like Alcantara, who is going to be 24 years old in July and entering the upper levels of the minor leagues? Likely, it means the upper minor leagues is where he will spend the bulk of his professional baseball career and his time on the 40-man roster is ticking.
Teams do look for defensive replacements to stash on rosters, but between the super-utility types making a splash on rosters and the pending league-wide designated hitter approaching, this continues to push out more one-dimensional players like Alcantara.
Look for Alcantara to continue his model of consistency for Triple-A Toledo in 2020. He will run out of options in 2021, but designating him for assignment in a pinch is also a low-risk move that might be a possibility that would not necessarily mean his farewell from the organization. Contrary to some’s thoughts, organizational players that play good defense and hit enough to get by do have value–but at this point, Alcantara is, at best, fourth in line to a job in Detroit.