DES MOINES, Iowa -- Little Arismendy Alcantara tends to get overlooked on the Cubs' list of big-time prospects. And that's not just because 6-foot-5 Kris Bryant -- and, to some degree, even the thickly built and taller Javier Baez -- dwarf the 5-10 Alcantara.
But while former No. 1 draft picks Bryant and Baez wait for their chance to be called up to the big-league team from Class AAA Iowa, their former I-Cubs teammate has been playing big in his first big-league shot.
I-Cubs manager Marty Pevey isn't surprised at the success of Alcantara, who's only 22.
"Mendy's the best fastball hitter on this team, without a doubt," Pevey said Friday, before his first-place I-Cubs beat Oklahoma City 7-2. "He can turn anybody's cheese around."
After going 0-for-4 in his Cubs debut at Cincinnati last Wednesday, Alcantara followed up with a 4-hit game that included a 2-run double, triple and sacrifice fly, as the Cubs beat the Reds in 12 innings. Then in his first game at Wrigley Field on Friday against Atlanta, Alcantara singled with two out, stole second base and scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth on Justin Ruggiano's single.
Alcantara was called up when second baseman Darwin Barney went on paternity leave to be with his pregnant wife. Alcantara was supposed to be with the Cubs for only two games. But his performance against the Reds earned the second baseman/outfielder an extended stay, at least through the weekend.
At Iowa, the switch-hitting Alcantara boasted a .307 batting average with a hefty 46 extra-base hits. His 10 homers included a Roy Hobbs-esque shot.
"Strong as an ox," Pevey said. "He hit a ball at Colorado Springs in the right-center-field lights. It hit the lights and bounced back. It's 385 (feet) to right-center, so you do the math. The light's over 100 feet straight up."
The 170-pound Alcantara isn't built like a prototypical slugger. So how is he able to generate his surprising power?
"His hands," Pevey said. "He is lightning through the zone. Lightning. He could get wood on a bullet."