Alcantara is probably the only slam-dunk solid lock for the Opening Day rotation. The only starter to make every turn through the 2019 campaign, Alcantara seemed to turn a corner after the trade deadline. Compare his pre-deadline numbers with his post-deadline numbers.
Pre-Deadline: 4-10, 4.54 ERA, .261/.350/.440, 6.51 K/9 over 123 innings, 1.480 WHIP
Post-Deadline: 2-4, 2.78 ERA, .207/.271/.324, 7.51 K/9 over 74 1/3 innings, 1.049 WHIP
What’s clear is that Alcantara seemed to figure out this whole “pitching” thing right around that time. I mean, sure, he knew how to pitch before that, but since the trade deadline came and went, Alcantara was the clear “ace” of the staff.
Smith, also affectionately known around these parts as “Dr. K,” first made a dent in the Miami Marlins rotation in 2018, going 5-6 with a 4.19 ERA over 16 starts before making a near-year-long trip to the injured list in June. Smith had a 10.2 K/9 rate when he went down, good for 88 whiffs in 77 1/3 innings.
The Miami Marlins decided to err on the side of caution when bringing Smith back into live game-action, waiting until the 2019 regular season to play him. He didn’t disappoint. Smith’s 1.8 WAR ranked second from amongst the Marlins starters, behind only Alcantara’s 2.9. He led the team in victories, going 10-11 with a 4.52 ERA and striking out a club-leading 168 in 153 1/3 innings for a 9.9 K/9 rate.
Alcantara and Smith are the only starters that I would consider a “lock” going into the offseason, with Alcantara solid as the number one and Smith a good number two.