Tuesday over at Baseball America saw Ben Badler write about the top 16 power and speed prospects from the 2019 international signing class. Among that group was one Cincinnati Reds signing, outfielder Deivid Alcantara. The outfielder got the third highest signing bonus among the 2019 class for the Reds. Here’s what we had on him from signing day:
Deivid Alcantara, an outfielder from the Dominican Republic. Born in Puerto Rico, but has been in the Dominican Republic for several years. “Super athletic, has very good speed. There’s a chance for him to be very physical in the future. He can really swing the bat well. Has a very good arm – very exciting, toolsy prospect. He’s performed in games, too,” said Reds International Scouting Director Trey Hendricks of Deivid Alcantara.
Badler’s article got me to thinking about some of the guys in the organization that have potentially above-average speed and power in their game. Until last week the name at the top of the list would have been Jose Siri. But he was claimed on waivers by the Seattle Mariners and is no longer in the organization. A handful of months ago Taylor Trammell would have been near the top of the list, too, but he was traded in a 3-team deal that brought back Trevor Bauer. The same thing could be said for Brian O’Grady, who had 30 home runs and 21 steals in 2019 between the Major Leagues and Triple-A. He was traded to Tampa Bay in November.
Those moves have really left the organization’s farm system a little bit light on true power/speed prospects. During the 2019 minor league season there were only 15 players who had 15 or more steals on the year. While steals aren’t truly indicative of speed, you don’t often see guys with above-average speed not stealing bases.
When looking at the farm system for players who may have both above-average speed and above-average raw power, the options are limited. Mariel Bautista, the Reds #18 prospect checks both boxes. So does Stuart Fairchild, who is the organization’s #7 prospect. Allan Cerda joins the other two outfielders who is above-average in both categories. Danny Lantigua is far more raw than the other three outfielders, but when looking at just the raw power and speed, he’s there.
That, though, is about where the list ends. Some players are close, having average in one category, and above-average in another. Guys like #4 prospect Jose Garcia, Andy Sugilio, Jonathan Willems, Fidel Castro, TJ Hopkins, and Michael Beltre fall into this category. For some of those guys the in-game power is a lot more playable than some of the others – but the raw power is there. Sugilio is probably the fastest player in the organization, and you can see where there could be some future power, but he has struggled to tap into it in his career.
Looking at the 10 players that were listed above, you’ve got three guys ranked in the Top 25 Reds prospects, and two inside of the Top 10. Four of the players have not yet reached full-season baseball, and another one only saw about six weeks in full-season ball in 2019.
You don’t need to have power and speed to be a quality big leaguer. While you have guys like Mike Trout, Christian Yelich, and Mookie Betts at the top of the game – the game is getting further away from stolen bases. Trout only stole 11 bases in 2019. Betts only had 16 steals. Of course, speed is useful for more than just steals. Being able to go first to third, or first to home when others may get the stop sign can make a difference. Having that extra step in the field on defense can make a difference. Those things are a little bit harder to measure.
Power and speed certainly help make a player more well rounded. But last I checked Anthony Rendon just signed a contract worth $245,000,000 with his slightly below-average speed. Guys with five average or better tools are actually quite rare. Even rarer are the guys with five average or better skills on the baseball field.