Sandy Alcantara is once again one of the more talked about young pitchers on the Miami Marlins staff. Is he ready to become this team’s ace in 2019?
It may only be the first spring training baseball game of the 2019 season, but Miami Marlins pitcher Sandy Alcantara looked solid in the two innings he was on the mound Saturday afternoon at Roger Dean Stadium.
He struck out three batters and showed off his fastball that already looked to be in mid-season form.
If the Marlins can get that kind of performance out of their second-year star, it might mean that the team’s No. 5 prospect ranked by MLB Pipeline, could be in line for a monster season.
Ideally, the Marlins would like Alcantara, who came over in the trade that sent Marcell Ozuna to the Cardinals last off-season, to work his way toward becoming the team’s ace on the mound.
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It’s still a long road for Alcantara, who has had his issues with control and consistency. While he was the centerpiece of the Ozuna trade, other players acquired in deals in the past year have been successful in the minors and are moving up the team’s minor league ladder.
The pressure isn’t mounting for Alcantara, 23, but the Marlins coaching staff must see some improvements in what could be deemed a hit and miss sample of his work from 2018.
There is no argument that Sandy Alcantara has the arm and look of a Major League star. He won his first two games after being called up to the Majors just prior to the All-Star break from New Orleans last season with fellow rookie Pablo Lopez. But an injury put him on the shelf, which eventually led to a return to Triple-A and more work on his consistency.
The best way to describe his first fore’ in the Majors is incomplete.
The Marlins top three starters in the rotation are set with Jose Urena, Dan Straily and Wei-Yin Chen. Alcantara could pitch his way into the third spot in the starting five. After that, it’s up to him to prove he can give this team the innings needed to win more games in 2019. He isn’t a lock yet to be a starter, but he is pretty darn close.
If the Marlins trade Straily during the season or Chen once again has issues with his elbow or consistently winning on the road, the door opens a bit wider for Alcantara. He also has other young pitchers nipping at his heels trying to unseat him as a starter.
Getting out on the mound for the first Spring Training game of the season was the easy part for Alcantara. Let’s see how he does in his second start. If he shows the same velocity and power in his pitches, then we will have a better understanding of how this season may unfold.
What the Marlins don’t need is an outing that puts things in doubt once again. Sandy Alcantara experienced that in 2018. The 2019 season must be about putting the past behind him and pitching like he wants to be the ace of this staff.
If not this season, then certainly in seasons to come.