Cubs prospect notebook: Injury timetable for top prospects, plus PCA at Triple-A
Kevin Alcántara was really hitting a groove.
Over his last 20 games at High-A South Bend, the Cubs’ No. 2 prospect, per Marquee Sports Network’s Lance Brozdowski, was hitting .348/.444/.623/196 wRC+ with 12 extra-base hits (3 home runs) and 14 RBIs.
But, on July 19, in the midst of a 3-hit game, Alcántara doubled down the left field line and pulled up favoring his left leg.
Came up lame rounding first but was moving ok on his way out. pic.twitter.com/SlYM589X6c— Brad (@ballskwok) July 19, 2023
Alcántara was back in Mesa, Ariz. at the Cubs’ complex to have the injury checked out and should be “down a couple of weeks” with a small “lower [left] leg strain,” per Cubs vice president of player development Jared Banner.
“Should be fine,” Banner said. “Nothing major. Just being safe about it. But he should be back soon.”
Alcántara was added to the Cubs’ 40-man roster this offseason and has hit .276/.328/.452 with 9 home runs, 20 doubles, 13 stolen bases and a 118 wRC+ in 72 games with South Bend.
He’s the second Cubs’ outfield prospect to go down with an injury in recent weeks. Brennen Davis (No. 10 on Brozdowski’s list) underwent core surgery in early June and has been sidelined since. He appeared to be knocking on the major-league doorstep last spring, but the injury bug has derailed him the last two years. He’s appeared in just 98 minor league games over 2022 and 2023 and has hit .188/.307/.299 with 8 home runs and a 63 wRC+.
“We’re still going one day at a time with Brennen,” Banner said. “He’s doing baseball activities. So, it’s just a matter of time. Ramping him up.”
PCA one step away
The Cubs announced earlier in the week that top prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong had been promoted to Triple-A Iowa, putting himself one step away from the major leagues.
Acquired for Javy Báez and Trevor Williams at the 2021 trade deadline, Crow-Armstrong hit .289/.371/.527 with 14 home runs, 27 stolen bases and a 134 wRC+ with Double-A Tennessee this season.
“Very excited,” Banner said. “He’s earned it.”
The Cubs wanted Crow-Armstrong to improve his plate disciple and add some more power — he did that and more this season. Crow-Armstrong improved his walk rate from 4.9% at High-A last season to 9.1% this year. He bumped his slugging percentage up nearly 30 points and has 14 home runs already this season after hitting 16 across two levels last year.
“He’s taken the goals we’ve put in front of him and really run with them,” Banner said. “We wanted him to get better with his decision-making at the plate and he did. It really reflected in his performances. And that’s when we knew it was time.”
Banner wasn’t looking forward to making a pair of phone calls earlier this week.
“It’s tough to get on the phone and call those guys who have been Cubs from the beginning and telling them they’re going to a new organization,” Banner said of prospects DJ Herz and Kevin Made, who were dealt for Jeimer Candelario.
The pair had both been drafted or signed by the Cubs and spent multiple years in the organization (Made signed in 2019, the same year Herz was drafted and signed).
“Ultimately, I think it’ll be a good opportunity for them,” Banner said. “I always say good players get traded, right? That means someone else wanted you a lot. We’ll miss those guys, but we’ll be rooting for them from across the way.”