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Cubs Prospect Perspective: Alexander Canario

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He’s better than he seemed at the time of his acquisition in the Kris Bryant trade.

Alexander Canario during Summer Camp with the Giants in July 2020
Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

I have some screwy ideas. Some of the make sense, but I hold on to quite a few of them, whether they do or not. One of them is the “Five Minute Rule.” When the Cubs make a transaction, however major or minor, I like to take however long it takes to research the logic behind the trade, and fully assess what I see, or don’t see. As such, I have a rather immediate baseline on what I have perceived. Perhaps I’m a bit accurate.Perhaps I botch the entire thing. The next time a transaction happens, I assess my misfires (especially) and accuracies from before, and try to do better, this time. If 11 times out of 14, I loved the trade for the Cubs, and only six were good trades long-term, my view is clouded. Here is my look at Alexander Canario, with a focus on my quick look at him on trade day.

Alexander Canario, outfield

Born May 7, 2000. Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic
Signed by the Giants as an international free agent
Acquired by the Cubs in the Kris Bryant trade

On trade deadline day, deals were being made in rapid-fire order. Many involved the Cubs. Many involved team icons. Many of these trades were very unpopular. When I go into Five Minute Rule format, I try to locate what I can in a few minutes, and sort what does, or doesn’t, make sense. The Cubs were obviously punting 2021 on second down, which was going to be very unpopular. My task was to assess the incoming players, and if “this one” made sense.

Canario was the higher ranked player, but my perusings at the Baseball Reference pages preferred the pitcher, Caleb Kilian. A very recent draft pick, Kilian had a fantastic strikeout/walk ratio, and a good ERA in Double-A, already. (This was well before his gem in the Arizona Fall League championship game.) Canario had been... okay in Low-A Ball. Where the Cubs already had more outfielders than outfield spots. Toss in that he was taking up a 40-man roster spot already? I was puzzled. Toss in an assessment of him being unplayable in center field, and my joy on Canario was muted.

The Cubs immediately promoting him to Advanced-A South Bend helped more than a little. That he seemed perfectly “minor league usable” in center field assisted, as well. What really helped was how he seemed to carry batting practice into games on occasion. Canario packs a punch into a rather aggressive swing. Sometimes, moving to a new organization stunts growth. Other times, it doesn’t.

As a Cubs prospect, he fanned 46 times in 42 games, with only 10 walks. If you want a hitter whose first thought with a runner on second and nobody out is to nudge a grounder to second to move up the runner? Canario might not be your guy. But if the scoreboard in left field is supposed to look like an inviting target? Canario serves as a really nice long-term one-two punch with Kilian. That he still has two option seasons left (or three if the lockout lasts too long) gives hope for him being useful in Wrigley, eventually.

I screwed up my early assessment of Canario. I still might have him wrong. I am much more forgiving of “Canario as a piece for Bryant” than I was in late July. As Bryant sounds unlikely to return to San Francisco, I hope Giants fans really enjoyed winning the West over advancing to the NLCS in 2021, because Canario and Kilian might have a future in Chicago.