Raul Alcantara is making another stop in his journey back to the major leagues, as the former Oakland A’s pitcher is heading to Japan.
The 2020 campaign was exactly what Raul Alcantara could have hoped for. The former Oakland A’s pitcher dominated in the Korean Baseball Organization, winning the Choi Dong-won Award and the Golden Glove for his work on the mound.
Given his success last year, it was thought that he could look to return stateside. Instead, Alcantara is making another stop overseas as he has reportedly signed with the Hanshin Tigers.
Heading to Japan does make sense for Alcantara. As impressive as his 2020 campaign had been, he did struggle at times in his first season in the KBO. Switching teams and coaches made a difference, as Alcantara became the staff ace of the Doosan Bears.
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Although the KBO is not the offensive haven it had once been, and is considered to be roughly on par with AA in terms of a talent level, there is no denying Alcantara’s performance. He posted a 20-2 record with a 2.54 ERA and a 1.027 WHiP, striking out 182 batters with 30 walks in his 198.2 innings.
Despite that success, one can understand why major league teams may be a bit skeptical that he can be an upgrade. He did not exactly light the majors on fire, and his minor league track record is more decent than dominant. Teams want to see Alcantara do it again, only this time, against better competition.
If Alcantara can dominate with Hanshin, that major league return could be forthcoming. He will pitch the entire 2021 season at 28 years old, and could still have a long major league career. But that next step will have to take place in Japan.
Raul Alcantara may well return to the majors at some point. That return just might not happen until 2022.