The New York Yankees continued to add to their roster on Thursday as they try to make a push towards the postseason. In what was considered a surprise to many, the team acquired Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo in exchange for outfielder Kevin Alcantara and right-handed pitcher Alexander Vizcaino, Jack Curry of the YES Network was the first to report on the deal:
The Yankees are trading Alcantara and Vizcaino for Rizzo. The Cubs are picking up all of Rizzo’s remaining salary.
— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) July 29, 2021
With the Yankees trying to stay under the competitive balance tax, it is no surprise that New York tried to get the Cubs to take on the remainder of Rizzo’s deal (free agent after this season). However, when you are going to do that, it will come with losing a valuable prospect.
Alcantara is the third different outfielder the Yankees have traded n the system dating back to this winter (Canaan Smith-Njigba and Antonio Cabello the other two). The 6’6” right-handed hitter just turned 19 earlier this month and he has all the tools to be a good all-around player.
This year, Alcantara had a slash line of .360/.448/.520 with a home run and three RBIs in eight games for the FCL Yankees (Rookie-level). Alcantara did have 63 strikeouts in 41 games back in 2019 (DSL and FCL), so plate discipline will be something he has to work on, but it is hard to deny the raw talent that he has.
Our own John Brophy has covered Alcantara all season long and this is what he wrote about him earlier this month:
“I can see the “higher ceiling” that Pipeline discusses as Alcántara is only 19, and with a few tweaks over the next few years, could be a super-star player in the Majors.”
In a way, you could make the case the Cubs are getting a do over from trading away Eloy Jimenez to the White Sox back in 2016 by adding another young, talented outfielder. I had the chance to speak to Alcantara back in 2018 and I was very impressed by the poise and maturity he showed for someone his age. He said his favorite player was another Yankee in Aaron Judge:
“The discipline at the plate that he has, so confident. The way that he looks in the game no matter how well he is, he looks patient and mature in the game,” said Alcantara about Judge.
Part of the inspiration Alcantara has to have a successful career comes from his father, who also wanted to have a career in baseball:
“My father dreamed to play baseball and he couldn’t because he used to work a lot. When I was a child, I said to my father: Daddy, don’t worry about it, I am going to be the player that you always dreamed of, “ said Alcantara.
As for Vizcaino, he was highly regarded as having one of the best changeups in the Yankees organization. Unfortunately, he missed the start of this season due to an arm injury. The 24-year-old right-hander was on the Yankees’ 40-man roster and he returned on July 10 when he made a rehab assignment in the FCL.
Unfortunately, Vizcaino was having a tough time finding his command to begin his shortened 2021 season as he had 10 walks to just 7 strikeouts in six games (three starts) in the FCL and High-A Hudson Valley. Conor Foley of the Scranton-Times Tribune was first to report that Vizcaino was likely going to be used out of the bullpen for the rest of the season if he stayed in the Yankees organization:
Had heard the Yankees were going to keep Alexander Vizcaíno in the bullpen for, more or less, the rest of the year.
— Conor Foley (@RailRidersTT) July 29, 2021
The Yankees do have some depth in center field in the organization when you look at the likes of Jasson Dominguez, Brandon Lockridge, Estevan Florial, and Everson Pereira just to name a few, so they can withstand the loss of Alcantara. Plus, with all of the young pitching they have at the lower levels, they can absorb losing Vizcaino.
While New York’s prospect depth has taken a hit this postseason, they still have kept their top prospects and continued to stay strong at key positions. When you are trying to stay under budget and make moves to push for the playoffs, these are the kind of moves that are going to happen.
With Luke Voit now without a spot due to the Rizzo trade, there’s most likely another move to come where New York will likely have to attach a prospect to get a team to take Voit’s money. Stay tuned for what that move might be.