With nothing going on in MLB due to the lockout, I can either race after absurd trade rumors, or spend more time with following Tottenham, my newly chosen Premier League side. What I'm finding is that fans are fans regardless the sport or level of play. Each fan has their own road map to success, and promoting said road map is often considered more important than assessing credibility of past hunches. Looking at the "January transfer window" in the Premier League series is a backdrop for assessing outfield prospect Kevin Alcantara.
The January transfer window loosely serves as the trade deadline in European soccer. The season is roughly halfway done. Teams are where they are, either pushing for a top-of-the-ladder finish, avoiding relegation, or caught somewhere in the middle. The premise of "making the post-season" is largely an American invention, for better or worse. The best team in the standings wins, in soccer, though there are benefits regarding scheduling the next season for doing well.
Trading a quality player for three or four prospects isn't unheard of, but it's less regular. In soccer, teams aren't rewarded for being terrible. Quite the opposite. MLB ownership creates the structure they want, and MLB owners prefer an environment where they reap profits, win or lose.
Kevin Alcántara, center field
Born July 12, 2002, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
International signing by the Yankees
Acquired by the Cubs in the Anthony Rizzo trade
Being tall isn't normally considered a primary attribute for a center fielder. Alcántara, at 6'6", is tall, if nothing else. He's also very athletic, and has developing power. He performed well in both 2021 Complex Leagues, with the better numbers in low humidity in Arizona. Unless you've traveled to watch him specifically, you've neither seen nor heard a game of his. Any opinion you have on him is likely an interpretation of a hunch.
Which is what I read on potential January transfer additions in the Premier League. Players with rather obvious flaws and upsides mashed together in whatever sized packages. The player that finishes well might be bad on defense, and the one that moves the ball upfield well might not have any ability to score. More so, the people recommending this move or that don't have a history on display of how accurate they are. Which seems important. If you're wrong 70 percent of the time, why are your two cents worth heeding?
Fangraphs buys Alcántara as similar to Owen Caissie, Pete Crow-Armstrong, and Reggie Preciado, though all have differing strengths. Alcantara is more speed/defense with developing pop than the others. As I don't encourage wagering on future results from prospects, I get to decide on whether I buy into one source of analysis better or worse than another. Fangraphs tends to be my go-to, but quite a bit can go wrong between Complex Ball and MLB.
In my parallel universe, what would be handy is a useful "assess the assessor" tool, so I know how accurate people are at assessing potential January acquisitions. If someone is good at projecting six to 18 months in the future, their guess might be credible. If they're proven to be unreliable, disregard them.
For Alcántara, he should play regularly in a loaded Myrtle Beach outfield whether Pete Crow-Armstrong is present or not. If the lockout is in play in April, don't fear sampling a Pelicans game. Which could lead to you familiarizing yourself with some players. Which is a very fun part of baseball for me.
Here’s some Alcántara video from last summer: