3 Miami Marlins players who must do better in May
By Neil Raymond
Sandy Alcantara was the best pitcher in the Major Leagues last season. It wasn't even remotely debatable. This season though...not so much. The ace started his career with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2017 and produced a 4.32 ERA/6.04 FIP with 10.8 K/9 and 6.5 BB/9 in 8.1 innings as a relief pitcher. The Redbirds flipped him to the Miami Marlins in what is surely one of the worst trades in St. Louis's history. Sandy immediately improved with The Fish upon arrival, producing a 3.44 ERA/4.75 FIP with 7.9 K/9 and 6.1 BB/9 in 6 starts and 34.0 innings pitched.
Alcantara followed that up in 2019 with a 3.88 ERA/4.55 FIP, with 6.9 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 32 games and 197.1 innings pitched. He was clearly improving further, but his strikeouts were in decline. It seemed to be a consequence to his control steadily improving in return. The question was whether he could take yet another step forward and get his strikeouts back up, while keeping his walks down.
In the shortened 2020 season, Sandy Alcantara did just that. He delivered a 3.00 ERA/3.71 FIP with 8.4 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9, in 7 games and 42.0 innings pitched. Sandy seemed to have turned into a legitimate ace that season. It was a star-making performance by the starting pitcher.
In 2021, Sandy Alcantara delivered a 3.19 ERA/3.42 FIP, with 8.8 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 33 games and 205.2 innings pitched. This was even better and was a very promising season for the ace. Sandy's rise to the top culminated in his National League Cy Young winning 2022 season. He delivered a 2.28 ERA/2.99 FIP with 8.1 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9, in 32 games and 228.2 innings pitched. That performance led to his Major League leading 8.0 WAR among pitchers.
2023 has been a different story for Alcantara. The 27 year old ace currently has a 5.04 ERA/3.85 FIP with 7.7 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9. Sandy's fastball is 98.1 mph, actually faster than last season's 98.0 mph. Sandy Alcantara is so good, that it's hard for me to see any scenario where he doesn't improve in his next few starts.
A potential star LF...