Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Will The Marlins’ Sandy Alcantara Be A Breakout Candidate In 2019?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We all know that the Marlins are in the midst of a rebuild.  We also know that the pitching staff is in flux, meaning that they are going to continue giving young pitchers opportunities in the rotation.  One such pitcher should be Sandy Alcantara, who they acquired as part of the Marcell Ozuna trade.

They gave him six starts late in 2018, and while his 3.44 ERA over 34.0 IP gives a sense of hope the other numbers are vastly different.  Just look at the main metrics we look at for any pitcher:

  • Strikeouts – 7.94 K/9
  • Control – 6.09 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 47.7%

The strikeout rate was actually better than his Triple-A mark (6.85 over 115.2 IP).  His 10.4% SwStr% does give a sense of hope that he can maintain the mark, and is right inline with his 9.9% mark at Triple-A.  Granted that’s not going to make him an elite starter, but it would be enough if he carried another skill…

That’s where things get concerning, because you have to wonder if there’s anything that we can hang our hat on.  Alcantara’s groundball rate in the Majors is obviously unspectacular, and while his 49.4% at Triple-A was better it also isn’t going to blow you away.  While he was a little bit better over the course of his minor league career, a GO/AO of 1.08 at Triple-A and 1.01 at Double-A is fairly pedestrian.  Pitching in Miami helps, but is it really enough?

Then you have the control, which has never been elite.  Obviously he’s not as bad as he showed in the Majors, but a 3.5 BB/9 in the minors is mediocre and tells us that he’s going to have his issues.

A year later, these are the same concerns we had of him after he was traded to Miami, when we gave him a “C+” grade and said:

“Another piece of the Marcell Ozuna trade, Alcantara reached the Majors last season making 8 appearances out of the bullpen.  He struggled with his control while there (6.48 BB/9), and that’s just a continuation of what he’s been doing in the minors the past two years:

  • Single-A (90.1 IP) – 4.48 BB/9
  • High-A (32.1 IP) – 3.90 BB/9
  • Double-A (125.1 IP) – 3.88 BB/9

He also didn’t generate many groundballs while at Double-A (44.8%) and struggled with home runs during his time in the Majors (2.16 HR/9).  There’s swing and miss stuff and upside in the 22-year old, but you also have to wonder if he’s ultimately ticketed for the bullpen or if he can solve the two obvious flaws.”

Could Alcantara take a step forward in his development?  Maybe, but at this point don’t count on it.  At best he should be seen as a streaming option, especially pitching at home, but in most formats he’s not going to be worth trusting if he gets the opportunity.

Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Reference, MILB.com

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Make sure to check out all of our 2019 projections:

Player
Date Posted
Dylan Bundy10/22/18
Foltynewicz, Mike10/09/18
Gibson, Kyle10/29/18
Hoskins, Rhys10/16/18
Hosmer, Eric11/05/18
Wheeler, Zack10/02/18

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