On Tuesday evening the Detroit Tigers traded veteran outfielder J.D. Martinez to the Arizona Diamondbacks for three prospects: infielders Dawel Lugo, Sergio Alcantara, and Jose King. Here’s a quick take on the three newest members of the Detroit farm system.
Sergio Alcantara, SS: The Diamondbacks spent $700,000 to sign Alcantara out of the Dominican Republic in 2012. He’s been a fixture at the lower levels of the Arizona system ever since, moving up once step at a time and reaching High-A this year, hitting .279/.344/.362 for Visalia in the California League.
Alcantara is a 5-9, 170 pound switch-hitter born July 10th, 1996. At age 21 he is rather young, and while he hasn’t been a terrific hitter thus far, he makes contact and has some feel for the strike zone, giving him a chance to improve as he matures physically. His defense draws praise, notably his throwing arm. He has smooth actions at shortstop and is more reliable than most infielders his age.
Jose King, SS: Arizona signed King out of the Dominican Republic in the fall of 2015; he got a relatively small bonus of $75,000. There was nothing small about his production last year: he hit .350/.402/.413 in the Dominican Summer League in 2016. He’s just getting started in ‘17, with 46 at-bats and a .261/.333/.348 line in the Arizona Rookie League.
King is listed at 6-0, 160, a left-handed hitter born January 16th, 1999. Scouting information on him is rather sparse but Ben Badler at Baseball America pointed him out as one of the better prospects in the DSL last year, noting excellent speed in particular (perhaps 80-grade). He’s raw and his defense needs work but there’s some potential there.
Dawel Lugo, 3B: Lugo is another Dominican, signed by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011 then traded to Arizona in 2015. He had a fine year in 2016, hitting .311/.339/.492 between High-A and Double-A. Returning to Double-A this year he was batting .282/.325/.428 for Mobile before the trade.
Lugo is 6-0, 190, a right-handed hitter born December 31, 1994. I ranked him fourth in the Arizona farm system pre-season with the following comment:
. . .despite youth and good surface numbers he draws wildly varying evaluations; agreement exists on his strong throwing arm and raw power, but erratic feel for the strike zone is a big handicap; some observers think he can improve substantially and hit for both power and average going forward but this is not unanimous; declining range fits best at third base but will put more pressure on his bat. ETA: 2018.
That’s all still true: some people like Lugo a lot but evaluations differ. Personally I’m among the optimists and think he could be a solid player and he’s made some progress with the strike zone this year.
This feels like a light return for Martinez. Alcantara’s glove and King’s speed are standout tools and I do believe Lugo could end up being pretty good, but none of these guys look like impact players in the way that Martinez is when healthy. Arizona is assuming all of Martinez’s salary and that factor has to be considered as well.