Throughout the 2018/2019 offseason, Marlin Maniac will devote one article each for every player who appeared in the Miami Marlins system for the 2018 season. Every. Single. Player. This is Part 91 of 286. Stay tuned.
Sandy Alcántara is a 6’4″, 170 lb. right-handed pitcher from San Juan De La Maguana, Dominican Republic, which was also the birthplace of former major leaguer Hector Wagner, and current Minnesota Twin Fernando Romero. Born on September 7th, 1995, Alcántara is still rookie-eligible for the 2019 season.
Undrafted, Alcántara was signed through free agency by the St. Louis Cardinals during the 2013 signing period for a $125,000 bonus. The righty already boasts a five-pitch arsenal, with a fastball (33%), a sinker (25%), a slider (18%), a changeup (16%), and a curveball (7%), courtesy of The Baseball Cube. You can follow Alcántara on Twitter @sandyalcantar15.
After his acquisition, Alcántara reported to the rookie-level DSL Cardinals, in the Dominican Summer League. He went 1-9 in his first pro look, making 11 starts and coming in once out of the bullpen. He struck out 55 in 56 2/3 innings, holding opponents to a 1.32 WHIP and surrendering a 3.97 ERA. A lateral promotion in 2015 would see him join the GCL Cardinals, in the Gulf Coast League. He posted a 4-4 record with a 3.22 ERA, 51 K’s in 64 innings, and a 1.23 WHIP.
The improvement would see two more promotions in 2016, as Alcántara split the year between the low-A Peoria Chiefs in the Midwest League, and the high-A Palm Beach Cardinals, in the Florida State League. Alcántara, by then St. Louis’ number 19 prospect, went 5-11 overall in 23 starts, with 153 whiffs in just 125 innings, an 11.23 K/9 rate. He turned in a 3.96 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP overall.
In 2017, then-number six Cardinal prospect Alcántara was 7-5 with a 4.31 ERA for the double-A Springfield Cardinals in the Texas League, and also later made his major league debut for the Cardinals. He struck out 10 in eight innings over eight games, allowing four earned runs and a scary (but SSS) 1.80 WHIP. On December 14th, the Cardinals packaged him with Zac Gallen, Daniel Castano, and Magneuris Sierra to the Miami Marlins for Marcell Ozuna.
For the majority of the 2018 season, Alcántara pitched for the triple-A New Orleans Baby Cakes, in the Pacific Coast League. He was 6-3 with a 3.89 ERA for the Cakes, with 88 K’s in 115 2/3 innings and a 1.25 WHIP. On June 29th, he was called up to the Marlins rotation, where he earned a victory by going five innings against the New York Mets. He allowed one run on three hits and five walks, striking out two. A minor injury prevented Alcántara from joining the rotation full time at that juncture, and he rejoined the major league club on September 1st.
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Down the stretch, Alcántara started five more games for the Marlins. On September 5th, he struck out six over seven scoreless three-hit innings for a 2-1 victory against the Philadelphia Phillies. He whiffed 10 in his final start of the year, over seven innings of a 1-0 loss to the New York Mets.
Half of Alcántara’s six starts were “Quality Starts,” and aside from an ominous 6.1 BB/9 rate, he pitched mostly good. He was 2-3 with a 3.44 ERA and a worrisome 1.75 WHIP as Baseball America’s number 70 overall prospect.
Alcántara will still be only 23-years-old when the 2019 campaign gets underway, but he is expected to be in the mix for the opening day slot. At the very least, barring injury, he will be one of the top-three rotational pitchers going into the season.
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