Alexander Canario had nothing left to prove at Double-A and he made that quite clear Sunday afternoon with his 30th and 31st home runs on the season. That mark leads the organization and makes him the first Cubs prospect to eclipse the 30-dinger mark since Kris Bryant hit 43 in 2014. According to multiple reports, including confirmation from our friends at North Side Bound, Canario has indeed been promoted to Triple-A Iowa.
The 22-year-old slugger joins first baseman Matt Mervis as players who have dominated at both High-A South Bend and Double-A Tennessee to earn big promotions to Des Moines this season. The big difference is that Canario is already on the 40-man roster and thus has the inside track to a cup of coffee in Chicago this season.
Alexander Canario. He did it again.
31 this year. pic.twitter.com/dWEfxwAzjm
— Greg Huss (@OutOfTheVines) August 21, 2022
In addition to adding a little strength over the winter, Canario made some mechanical adjustments that have fueled his performance this season. The most important of those, at least in my estimation, is a reduction in the counter-rotation of his top half. There are several other factors — more open stance, more athletic posture with better hip hinge — but keeping his shoulders slightly more neutral produces better odds of getting good results.
Looks like more hip hinge and ground force via knee bend; stance slightly more open; bigger leg lift; and then what I think might be the most important aspect of the whole thing: His load is much quieter because he’s not counter-rotating his upper body.
— Evan Altman (@DEvanAltman) July 25, 2022
It’s not at all uncommon for young hitters to have too much movement up top, whether it’s over-rotation due to a lack of hip/shoulder disassociation, getting a big bat wrap, or starting the hands early. That’s almost always a result of them making up for a lack of strength by “cheating” and finding a way to recruit different muscle groups in order to swing the bat as hard as possible by any means necessary. Sometimes those things don’t have to be corrected for a while because the results don’t merit change.
With Canario, I suspect the folks running the Cubs’ hitting infrastructure were salivating at the opportunity to work with what they saw when he first joined the organization. I had noticed a few things during his hot stretch with South Bend last August and I have no doubt Justin Stone saw all that and more. But since it’s difficult to make changes during the season, particularly with a prospect who’s brand new to the system, most of the work likely happened last winter.
Now it’s just a question of how quickly we see Canario in Chicago and what other move(s) the Cubs make to clear space on the active roster. They’ve already got a pretty crowded house in Iowa, and that’s before we talk about the possibility of Brennen Davis making it back this season. The same is true over at first base, where Mervis is splitting time with Frank Schwindel and Alfonso Rivas.
What I can say for certain is that Canario is going to be a lot of fun to watch no matter when he makes his debut.