Strange things happen some days.
Last Saturday afternoon, I put out this tweet about Tyler Alamo:
FYI – The quietest Cubs Prospect
Tyler Alamo – Catcher -Myrtle Beach
June – .299
July – .293
August – .317
— Todd ⚾️ (@CubsCentral08) August 19, 2017
I also sent Myrtle Beach Pelicans announcer Scott Kornberg a message about how impressed I have been with Alamo’s production this summer and asked him what he thought was the key to Alamo’s success.
“Seems like he’s tried to cut down on his swing,” came the response. “Because he’s not hitting for much power at all. But he’s been hitting the ball harder, and therefore having it land in for hits. And I think on that note, in terms of trying not to do too much, swinging at much better pitches instead of getting himself out. That’s what he’s talked about a lot to me.”
Lo and behold, Alamo cranked out 3 homers and 5 RBI in a double-header that same day en route to being named the Carolina League Player of the Week. Alamo has hit .333 over his last 10 game and is at .284 with 12 dingers on the year. He has done is all very quietly.
The long, slow climb
Taken out of high school in the 24th round of the 2013 MLB Draft, Alamo is at high-A Myrtle Beach this season playing first and catching, also seeing some time at DH. In the wake of the Eloy Jimenez trade, Alamo has stepped up to be an integral middle-of-the-order bat.
The Cubs are known for drafting mostly college players. Rarely will Jason McLeod select a high school player, let alone a catcher. Alamo’s pedigree of playing USA baseball with future Cubs Trevor Clifton and Keegan Thompson helped, as did his 6-foot-4, 200-pound frame with the potential to add weight as he matured physically.
Alamo toiled for two seasons in the Arizona Rookie League in 2013 and 2014. He did not hit for a high average, but he worked on his defense and strengthened his body. In 2015, he spent the summer in Eugene hitting .261 with a .338 OBP, a marked improvement for a 20-year-old.
In the winter of 2015, Alamo went about adding more muscle and he now looks to be somewhere between 215-225, the kind of guy I’d want on my side in a dark alley. Alamo continued working hard in 2016, even if the results didn’t show up on the stat sheet. He only hit .243, but he also blasted his first five homers as a pro and drove in 50.
We’re really seeing all that hard work pay off this summer. According to Fangraphs, Alamo has increased the number of line drives he has hit this year from 18.3 to 24.2 year over year, while his ground-ball rate has dropped from 48.1 to 43.3 percent. Driving the ball more has led to a wRC+ of 120, and his improved approach has led to him seeing 300 more pitches in just 10 more games than he did last year. Alamo is not a flashy player by any means, but he does get the job done. He’s played 49 games at first, caught 28, and was the DH in 27 others.
Alamo has definitely earned a promotion for next spring and I am interested to see how he performs next year at AA Tennessee. His ability to adapt at each level should bode well for his success. While power is not his primary concern right now, I think we could see even more pop as he continues to mature. He won’t have the sea breezes keeping the ball in the park, either.
He’s not a name you’ll see at the top of all the prospect lists, but trust me when I tell you to remember T. Alamo.