Former Cubs, A’s and Reds infielder Arismendy Alcantara has signed with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in Nippon Professional Baseball, per a team announcement (via Yahoo Japan). It’ll be the first stint in Japan for the one-time top prospect.
Heading into the 2014 season, Alcantara ranked among the sport’s top 100 prospects at Baseball America, MLB.com and Baseball Prospectus (among other outlets). At the time, the switch-hitter was fresh off a 15-homer, 31-steal performance in Double-A as a 21-year-old. Alcantara was viewed as a potential long-term option at Wrigley Field, but he’s yet to find much success at the MLB level.
Now 30 years of age, Alcantara has spent parts of four seasons in the Majors — albeit none since his 2017 campaign in Cincinnati. He’s a career .189/.235/.315 hitter in 459 Major League trips to the plate, but Alcantara has a nice Triple-A track record, including a big showing with the Giants’ top affiliate this past season. In 255 plate appearances with Triple-A Sacramento in 2021, he posted a .280/.337/.586 slash with 17 home runs, 10 doubles and five triples.
Alcantara has played all over the diamond as a professional, appearing at every position other than first base and catcher. The vast majority of his work has come up the middle, with 4053 innings at second base, 3311 innings at shortstop and 1207 innings in center field. He’ll give the Fighters some cover at multiple positions, and given that he only recently turned 30, a Major League comeback at some point down the road isn’t out of the question if he takes his game to a new level overseas.