by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Earlier tonight the Tigers acquired the relatively unknown right-handed pitching prospect Victor Alcantara from the Los Angeles Angels (in exchange for Cameron Maybin). While part of the deal was getting something for a player who the Tigers were unlikely to exercise the option for anyways, it’s fair to wonder if there is any potential value for Alcantara moving forward.
While he throws hard, the results haven’t been there overall with a career 4.60 ERA and 1.45 WHIP. You’d think that some strikeouts would be there, given the reports of hitting triple digits while pitching in the lower levels of the minors, but he owns just an 8.0 K/9 for his minor league career.
Alcantara has also routinely struggled with his command, with a career 4.5 BB/9 (over 503.1 IP). The Angels ultimately shifted him to the bullpen late in ’16, but that change did little to harness his control as he issued 12 BB in 13.1 IP over his eight relief appearances.
Just to further hammer home the control issues, Baseball America noted that he has “at least 14 wild pitches in every season as a starter.”
It would seem like there would be little reason to believe in the 23-year old (he’ll turn 24 in April). However, we have to remember that he was just shifted to the bullpen and there is upside for him in that type of role (but there’s work to be done). Here’s Baseball America’s recent scouting report in regards to his stuff:
“Alcantara’s control and secondary pitches—an upper-80s changeup and low-90s slider—never improved beyond fringe-average and his velocity dropped, now topping out at 97 and sitting 93-95.”
Still, it’s easy to envision him getting his velocity back up in short spurts and he’s always been capable of generating groundballs (1.63 GO/AO in ’16, 1.67 for his minor league career). Those two things give you the makings of a quality relief pitcher. All the Tigers need to do is figure out how to get his control in order and it’s possible that they find a productive option.
That’s not to say that he’s a closer of the future, but he if he can be a piece of a Major League bullpen this deal will be deemed a victory for Detroit.
Sources – MILB.com, Baseball Reference, Baseball America
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