After a scoreless showing at the All-Star Game on Monday night, Miami Marlins pitcher Sandy Alcantara needs to build his resume as a dominant starter.
After a scoreless inning in Monday night’s All-Star Game in Cleveland, this could be the laughing point of the 23-year-old right-hander’s career. A jump t stardom would be most welcome by the Marlins front office, which dealt outfielder Marcell Ozuna to St. Louis last offseason.
Alcantara looked right at home pitching again the best the American League had to offer at the plate.
"“In his comparatively short MLB career, nothing matched the magnitude of taking the mound in the eighth inning of his first Midsummer Classic,” Joe Frisaro of MLB.com wrote. “Alcantara worked a scoreless eighth inning for the National League, including striking out Whit Merrifield of the Royals on a 99 mph four-seam fastball.”"
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If all it took was an All-Star nod to set the Marlins No. 4 starter in the right direction, then it was the right move to add a 4-8 pitcher to the staff for the All-Star Game. The Marlins could have sent a host of players as their lone representative. Alcantara made the most of his opportunity.
"“I’m really happy to be here, and glad I could represent my country and my team at this game,” Alcantara told reporters postgame. “I’m ready to get going again. I’ve been ready since Spring Training to do my job.”"
What happens now is really up to the pitcher and whether he can overcome bouts of inconsistency in his early start to become more dominant and challenge hitters more often. With the Marlins in a quandary over what to do with the remainder of its staff once the team returns to action on July 12 against the New York Mets, Alcantara put his best effort forward in making a claim as the team’s No. 1 guy and an ace of the staff for the future.
As it stands now, it looks as though Alcantara, Caleb Smith, Trevor Richards, Gallen and Jordan Yamamoto will make up the starting five. Elieser Hernandez will be the team’s long reliever. Pablo Lopez is still dealing with a shoulder injury.
And for Alcantara, being part of the All-Star Game, sharing time with greats of the game will forever be a special moment.
"“It’s amazing to be here in a clubhouse with these superstars like Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw,” Alcantara said. “Like I’ve said, I just feel super blessed for this opportunity.”"
Alcantara threw 10 total pitches, seven of them for strikes. His hardest pitch was a 99.4 mph four-seam fastball. It is the fastball that is going to make him a star of the future if he can find more of a rhythm on the mound.
With his roots steeped in the Dominican Republic, it was special to see that Pedro Martinez caught his eye. One of the greatest pitchers to come out of the Dominican Republic, Martinez had words of encouragement for the youngster when they met at a charity event.
"“He said, ‘You’ve got a good arm. You’ve got to keep throwing,’” Alcantara said. “He said, ‘You’re throwing well. Keep the faith and keep working hard.’”"
The Marlins will have trade decisions to make regarding their young core of pitchers. If Alcantara continues to show improvement, he could be the player this team builds its young staff and rotation around.
"“With Sandy, you see the size,” Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. “You see the raw ability and his pitch package. You see the potential. That’s what we identified when we started those conversations. We felt like this was an arm that could pitch at the front of the rotation.”"