Alcántara's nickname 'Jaguar' resurfaces after big Fall League night

October 25th, 2023

MESA, Ariz. -- Kevin Alcantara has become well-known as the No. 4 Cubs prospect flashing speed, power and discipline in his skill set.

Those are the same characteristics possessed by a jaguar, not so coincidentally the nickname Alcántara has had since he grew up loving the game of baseball in the Dominican Republic.

“I have speed and I’m always ready against my prey,” Alcántara said in Spanish. “I’m always working my hardest and I can definitely show resemblances of a jaguar.”

The 21-year-old hitter showed glimpses of that Tuesday night in Mesa's 5-2 win over Scottsdale. Just like a jaguar, Alcántara waits for the perfect moment to strike. That opportunity came in the first inning.

After seeing two pitches from Scorpions right-hander Tekoah Roby (STL No. 5), Alcántara took a mighty swing at the third down the middle and did a bat flip as he completed the swing on his fourth homer of the Fall League campaign.

MLB's No. 71 overall prospect took a moment to admire the ball as it sailed to the top of the left-field berm. Then he began to trot around holding his hand the same way a jaguar tends clench its claw when about to attack.

“It’s my brand,” said Alcántara, who finished 3-for-4. “It’s my nickname and I show people how I’m like. I can run. I can hit. I can do everything I set my mind to.”

After finishing the regular season with a slash line of .284/.345/.465 across High-A and Double-A, Alcántara considers it a blessing to represent the Cubs in Arizona.

The 21-year-old admittedly didn't get off to the start he wanted to, going 4-for-23 through his first five games. Alcántara knew he needed to make a change in his routine, so he spent all the time he could in the cages perfecting his swing and identifying what works best for his strike zone. Through 14 games, his slash line was up to .246/.343/.509 with four homers and 16 RBIs over 57 at-bats.

He hit the first walk-off homer of his career last week and then recorded a total of five hits over the course of his past two games. Pleased with his recent performance, Alcántara is working to become Major League-ready, particularly since MLB Pipeline estimates he'll be ready for Wrigley Field in 2024.

“I want to show the team that I’m ready,” Alcántara said. “But I need to keep working. I played well in Double-A, but I need to keep working. The organization is in charge of putting me in a position to win.”

Alcántara admits playing a longer season than usual can be tiring. But the one thing fueling him to make it to the finish line -- his family back home who gave him the nickname of "The Jaguar."

“I think a lot about my family,” he said. “There are times when I don’t have the energy to go head out to the field. It’s hard, but I think about how I need to keep pushing for them.

“Family is important to me. They give me a pulse to keep going. My dad, my mom and my brother are the reason I’m chasing this dream. It’s beautiful.”