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Alcides Escobar
Alcides Escober Nationals 2022 (cropped 1).jpg
Escobar with the Washington Nationals in 2022
Free agent
Shortstop / Second baseman
Born: (1986-12-16) December 16, 1986 (age 36)
La Sabana, Venezuela
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Professional debut
MLB: September 3, 2008, for the Milwaukee Brewers
NPB: June 19, 2020, for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows
MLB statistics
(through 2022 season)
Batting average .258
Hits 1,486
Home runs 45
Runs batted in 478
Stolen bases 178
NPB statistics
(through 2020 season)
Batting average .273
Home runs 1
Runs batted in 30
Career highlights and awards

Alcides Escobar (Spanish: [alˈsiðes eskoˈβaɾ]) (born December 16, 1986), is a Venezuelan professional baseball infielder who is currently a free agent. He previously played in MLB with the Milwaukee Brewers, Kansas City Royals and Washington Nationals, and the Tokyo Yakult Swallows of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB).

Early and personal life

Escobar was born in La Sabana, Venezuela. Escobar is cousin to pitchers Edwin Escobar and Kelvim Escobar, as well as outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. He is also the nephew of shortstop José Escobar. Escobar began playing baseball when he was four years old, stating how he idolized fellow Venezuelan shortstop Omar Vizquel.

Baseball career

Milwaukee Brewers

On July 9, 2003 (at age 16), Escobar signed with the Milwaukee Brewers as an international free agent for $35,000. Escobar made his professional debut in 2004 with the rookie-level Helena Brewers. In 2005, he played for the Single-A West Virginia Power, batting .271/.305/.362 with 2 home runs and 36 RBI. The following season, Escobar slashed .257/.296/.306 in 87 games for the High-A Brevard County Manatees. In 2007, he split time between Single-A and Double-A, playing 63 games for Brevard County in the Class A-Advanced Florida State League and 62 games for the Double-A Huntsville Stars of the Southern League. He batted a combined .306 with one home run and 53 runs batted in.

In 2008, Escobar played mostly for Huntsville. On September 1, 2008 (when rosters expanded), Escobar was called up to the Majors for the first time, and made his debut two days later as a defensive replacement at shortstop. He picked up his first career hit in his first at bat in the same game, a single against pitcher Scott Schoeneweis of the New York Mets.

Alcides Escobar on August 14, 2009
Escobar with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2009.

Before the 2009 season, Baseball America rated Escobar the 19th best prospect in baseball. In 2009, Escobar appeared in the All-Star Futures Game as the starting shortstop for the World team. During the game, he went 2-for-4 and scored the go-ahead run. On August 12, Escobar was called up to the Brewers from the Triple-A Nashville Sounds to replace J. J. Hardy, who had been optioned down. He made his first major league appearance of the season that night, pinch running for Prince Fielder in the bottom of the 9th inning against the San Diego Padres. Escobar stole second base, his first stolen base of his career.

After the end of the 2009 season, the Brewers traded Hardy to the Minnesota Twins, making Escobar the starting shortstop for the Brewers in 2010. Prior to the 2010 season, Baseball America rated Escobar as the best prospect in baseball.

Kansas City Royals

Kansas City Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar
Escobar with the Kansas City Royals in 2011

On December 18, 2010, the Brewers traded Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi to the Kansas City Royals for Zack Greinke and Yuniesky Betancourt. In 2011 he batted .254/.290/.343 with 4 home runs and 46 RBI in 158 games.

On March 15, 2012, Escobar signed a four-year, $10 million extension through 2015 with club options for 2016 and 2017 with the Royals. If both options were exercised, Escobar could earn $21.75 million. Escobar, who was slated to earn $519,500 in 2012, would instead earn $1 million in 2012 and $3 million a year from 2013 to 2015. His 2016 option was worth $5.25 million and had a $500,000 buyout. His 2017 option was worth $6.5 million and had a $500,000 buyout. The extension covered his final pre-arbitration season and his three arbitration-eligible seasons. The club options covered his first year of free agency.

In 2013, Escobar batted .234/.259/.300, and his .259 on base percentage was the lowest of all qualified MLB batters. His .300 slugging percentage was also the lowest among all qualified batters in MLB. In 2014, Escobar (along with Evan Longoria, Hunter Pence and Freddie Freeman) was one of the only players in the MLB to start in all 162 regular season games for their respective teams. He finished the season hitting .285, with 74 runs scored, 50 RBIs, and 31 stolen bases.

In 2015, Escobar batted .257/.293/.320. He led the majors in with 11 sacrifice hits. His .320 slugging percentage was the lowest of all qualified major league batters. He also had the lowest ISO (isolated power) of all MLB players in 2015, at .064.

During the 2015 ALCS, Escobar set a postseason record by getting a lead-off hit in four consecutive games. He was selected as the 2015 ALCS MVP as he batted .478 in the series. In Game 1 of the 2015 World Series, Escobar hit an inside-the-park home run on the first pitch thrown by New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey. It was the first time a player had hit an inside-the-park home run in a World Series game since 1929. Escobar followed that with driving in two runs, and scoring once on two hits in Game 2. In Game 5, Escobar hit a double in the 12th inning, allowing Christian Colon to score and help the Royals defeat the Mets 7–2 in 12 innings, making the 2015 Kansas City Royals World Series Champions. In the 2015 postseason, Escobar hit .329 in 70 at bats. He had 23 hits including four doubles and three triples, 13 runs scored and 9 RBI. He received the 2015 AL Rawlings Gold Glove Award for shortstops.

In 2016, he batted .261/.292/.350. He again led the majors in sacrifice hits, with 10. On June 3, Escobar got his 1000th career Major League hit against Cleveland Indians pitcher Danny Salazar. On October 10, 2016, the Royals exercised Escobar's 2017 option. The Royals paid him $6.5 million in 2017. He batted .250/.272/.357 in 599 at bats, and shared the major league lead with 7 sacrifice hits. His .272 on base percentage was the lowest, and his .357 slugging percentage was the third-lowest, among all qualified batters in MLB. He stole four bases, but was caught seven times.

On January 29, 2018, Escobar re-signed with the Royals with a one-year, $2.5 million deal. In 2018, he batted .231 (a career low)/.279/.313. His .313 slugging percentage was the second-lowest among all qualified batters in MLB.

Baltimore Orioles

On February 16, 2019, Escobar signed a minor-league contract with the Baltimore Orioles which included an invitation to spring training. On March 20, 2019, Escobar was granted his outright release from the Orioles.

Chicago White Sox

On March 22, 2019, Escobar signed a minor league deal with the Chicago White Sox. He was assigned to the Triple-A Charlotte Knights to begin the year. After hitting .286/.343/.444 with 10 home runs and 70 RBI, Escobar was released by the organization on August 2.

Tokyo Yakult Swallows

On October 30, 2019, Escobar signed with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). On January 31, 2020, he held a press conference with Gabriel Ynoa and Matt Koch.

On June 19, he made his NPB debut. On July 15, Escobar hit his first career NPB home run off Hanshin Tigers pitcher Onelki García. In 104 games with Yakult, Escobar slashed .273/.312/.329 with 1 home run and 30 RBI. On November 23, 2020, he became a free agent.

Kansas City Royals (second stint)

On May 4, 2021, Escobar signed a minor league contract with the Kansas City Royals organization and was assigned to the Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers. In 35 games with Omaha, Escobar posted a .274/.311/.452 slash with 5 home runs and 16 RBI.

Washington Nationals

Alcides Escober 2022 (cropped)
Escobar with the Nationals in 2022

On July 2, 2021, Escobar was traded to the Washington Nationals in exchange for cash considerations. He was selected to the active roster on July 3. On July 18, Escobar hit his first major-league home run since the 2018 season against the San Diego Padres to pull the Nationals within one run in the eighth inning, and hit a walk-off single in the ninth to lead them to an 8–7 victory.

Escobar finished out the 2021 season with the Nationals batting .288/.340/.404, his best totals since 2012. He then signed a one-year contract extension through the 2022 season on October 5, 2021. In 2021, he had the lowest average exit velocity of all major league batters, at 81.7 mph.

Escobar made his pitching debut against the Philadelphia Phillies, tossing a scoreless inning in the bottom of the 8th on July 5, 2022.

On August 3, 2022, Escobar was placed on unconditional release waivers.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Alcides Escobar para niños

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