The Chicago Cubs added another win yesterday thanks to their rookies, Kyle Hendricks and Javier Baez, but Arismendy Alcantara’s contribution was no where to be found. Since his promotion to the big leagues, Alcantara has struggled to make an impact hitting just .208 in 35 games. He has shown flashes of greatness and has put all of his tools on display, at one point or another, but his consistency has been severely lacking.
Part of the problem may be the inconsistencies in the lineup card. Since joining the Cubs, ‘Mendy has split time between second base (15 games) and centerfield (20 games), neither of which is his natural position, and he has bounced around in the batting order quite a bit too.
(stats per ESPN.com)
Hitting in different spots in the order requires a different mentality because each spot has a different job to do. As a leadoff hitter you job is simple, get on base. As a #2 hitter your job is to be a jack-of-all-trades; move guys over, get on base, drive in a few runs. And as a #6 hitter your job is to drive in runs. As evidence by his performance thus far, ‘Mendy is far more comfortable hitting out of the two spot and given his skill set, it makes sense.
Javier Baez has been hitting out of the two hole since his promotion in order to have the protection of Anthony Rizzo behind him in the batting order, but as a result it has forced ‘Mendy to hit elsewhere and it has really hurt his production. Long term, Baez projects as a 4, 5, 6 hitter, and Rick Renteria’s decision to bat him second for now makes sense, developmentally, but is it worth sacrificing Arismendy Alcantara’s development?
The Chicago Cubs are fast approaching the part of the season where every move made needs to have next year in mind and letting Arismendy Alcantara hit .105 in his last ten games does not benefit the 2015 Cubs. The sample size is small, true, but ‘Mendy’s career will be short lived if he continue to hit the way he has out of the leadoff and six hole, but if his numbers reflect those that he has put up out of the two hole, then the Cubs have found themselves a solid piece moving forward.
It’s a tough decision to make and will require some thought as to how to remake the lineup but Arismendy Alcantara is clearly not being used properly.
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