Earlier this year we wrote an article about whether we should worry about Sandy Alcantara. At the time that it was written, it was more of a non-serious article with just some worry. Should there be real worry now? It was just so good with him... what happened? Is Sandy Alcantara in decline?! He was...horrible against the Philadelphia Phillies last night. He gave up 9 runs, 10 hits, a walk and a home run in just 4 innings. He did have 4 strikeouts at least. So, what happened?
Sandy Alcantara had a really bad start last night.
No great player is always great. It's impossible for someone to be perfect every game. Sandy Alcantara wasn't perfect in every start for the Miami Marlins last season, on his way to winning the National League Cy Young award last season. It's important to point that out, along with the fact that it was just one game.
How do Sandy's underlying metrics look? He currently has a 5.79 ERA/3.88 FIP/4.71 xFIP/3.22 xERA. The 3.22 xERA is the key stat here. The 3.88 FIP is important too. It's obvious that he's nowhere near as bad as his ERA says. He has a disappointing 5.30 K/9 and 2.89 BB/9. The marks were 8.15 K/9 and 1.97 BB/9 last season. Sandy's career marks are 7.95 K/9 and 2.83 BB/9. I'm pretty confident that his strikeouts will improve at least. Sandy's fastball velocity was 98.0 last season, but is 97.8 this season. That doesn't look like a real velocity drop, he still has an elite fastball velocity.
Let's dig even more under the hood with Sandy Alcantara. Sandy got a 34.4 Whiff% last season, this season it's 39.5%. He put away 26.8% of hitters that he faced with it last season, this season it's 31.3% .Better marks. His fastball did go from 24.7 Whiff% last season to 14.3% this season. It also went from a 20.3 Put Away% last season to a 10.5% this season. This means that he throws his fastball less, more so than that he isn't good at throwing it anymore. Sandy's sinker went from a 10.8 Whiff% last season to an 8.0 Whiff% this season. He put away 15.8% of hitters with it last season, but put away an even better 18.2% this season.
Sandy Alcantara is fine. He had a bad start, but nothing in his metrics suggests that the 27 year old is in any sort of decline. He is still an ace and will be in NL Cy Young award conversation this season once again.