After two seasons in the Miami Marlins organization, will Sandy Alcantara prove he is the ace if the pitching staff like many thought he would be?
In a game where statistics mean everything, the 6-14 record Alcantara posted is a bit misleading given the lack of hitting to back up some of the best pitching performances for the Marlins last season. And if there is a tale of two halves of baseball, the team’s only representative in the 2019 All-Star game showed he was an improved pitcher in the second stanza of 2019.
The Marlins are expected to be a team that improves this season. It might not be a jump to the playoffs, but it should be significant enough for the league to take notice. Alcantara must be part of a resurgence in South Florida.
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Here are three predictions for Alcantara’s 2020 MLB season.
Another All-Star Appearance
Why not? If last season he made the team by virtue of the “one player for every team” rule, then an improved first half of the season should mean he gets in by merit.
What I like about Alcantara is he gets better as the game moves along. That wasn’t always the case when he made his Marlins debut. There were issues with his location and control. Manager Don Mattingly talked about it at times last season.
The idea is to see a more dominant Alcantara where he challenges hitters from the start of the confrontation. If he can win seven or eight games in the first half of 2020, he should be an automatic addition to the National League roster.
15 to 18 Wins
If there is one thing the Marlins need, it’s a pitcher who can string together wins. Caleb Smith started out last season with that kind of dominance, but injuries curtailed that kind of performance.
Alcantara is the kind of pitcher who needs a solid rhythm to keep going. He is tall and lanky, which means the ball looks faster coming out of his hand. For a guy who can touch high-90s on the radar gun, he could become more of a power pitcher, which means more trouble for hitters with the strike zone.
If the Marlins can back him up with offense this season, stringing together more than two solid outings in a row is very possible.
Mr. Cy Young
I think Alcantara has as good a chance as anyone to win the Cy Young award in the National League. The field closed a bit with the news of the injury to Noah Syndergaard. And in the National League East, pitching will be at a premium.
Should the former St. Louis Cardinals farmhand improve his control and find the strike zone more like Smith has shown, he could become the best pitcher on the Marlins staff since Jose Fernandez.
This is an organization that needs dominant starters and players who fan bases across the country can identify with. Alcantara can become one of many over the next few seasons.