The Miami Marlins liked what they saw from pitcher Sandy Alcantara, but the ball club would like him to hone his skills a bit more before he makes his major league debut.
The team announced it was sending him down to Triple-A New Orleans to work more on his mechanics and consistency. It’s a move that is a bit shocking given the Miami Marlins sent Adam Conley, Dillon Peters and Jarlin Garcia to the minors late last week. The Marlins’ pitching staff is taking shape, but it’s fair to say this is not how many of us thought it would look going into Spring Training.
Ranked by MLB Pipeline as Miami’s No. 3 prospect, Alcantara opened eyes in the organization, striking out 11 in 16 Grapefruit League innings. He had a 3.38 ERA and a WHIP of 1.19.
“We just felt like he wasn’t quite ready to truly compete,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “Obviously, his stuff is there. He’s really close. We felt like there were some finishing touches, from the standpoint of just his mode of attack.”
Mattingly said the past week to 10 days it became clear Alcantara needed more time on the minor league level. As Joe Frisaro of MLB.com pointed out Alcantara’s fastball reached 98 mph in Spring Training, and he’s already touched triple digits in his pro career. But the lanky 6-foot-4, 170-pounder has limited big league experience, throwing 8 1/3 innings of relief for the Cardinals last September.
The Miami Marlins see him as a starter in the future, as is a strong candidate to be a No. 1 ace.
Alcantara signed with the St. Louis Cardinals as an international free agent in July 2013. He made his professional debut in 2014 with the Dominican Summer League Cardinals and spent the whole season there, going 1-9 with a 3.97 ERA in 12 games (11 starts). He spent 2015 with the Gulf Coast Cardinals where he pitched to a 4-4 record and 3.22 ERA in 12 games started, and started 2016 with the Peoria Chiefs.
During a start in May he tied the Chiefs record with 14 strikeouts. He was promoted to the Palm Beach Cardinals in July 2016. He finished the 2016 season with a combined 5-11 record with a 3.96 ERA in 23 games started between both clubs.
Alcantara began 2017 with the Springfield Cardinals. After pitching to a 7-5 record and 4.31 ERA in a career high 125.1 innings, the Cardinals promoted him to the major leagues on September 1, 2017.After the season, the Cardinals assigned Alcantara to the Surprise Saguaros of the Arizona Fall League (AFL), where he was selected to the Fall Stars Game. He pitched 15 total innings in the AFL, finishing the season with five games started, a 1-2 record, and a 4.20 ERA.
On December 14, 2017, the Cardinals traded Alcantara, along with Magneuris Sierra, Zac Gallen, and Daniel Castano, to the Miami Marlins for Marcell Ozuna. MLB.com ranked him as Miami’s third best prospect going into the 2018 season.