- Full name Sandy Alcantara
- Born 09/07/1995 in Azua, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 6'5" / Wt.: 200 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- Debut 09/03/2017
Organization Prospect Rankings
Track Record: The top prospect the Marlins received by trading Marcell Ozuna to the Cardinals in December 2017, Alcantara had a solid first season with his new club. The righthander got his first taste of Triple-A in 2018 before making six starts for Miami.
Scouting Report: Alcantara is armed with a plus-plus fastball, which previously topped out at 102 mph. In 2018, he threw more 92-95 mph two-seam fastballs, though he is still capable of using his upper-90s four-seamer when needed. Alcantara's issue is getting his fastball over the plate for strike one, and his fringe-average control has hampered his development. A tall, lanky righthander, Alcantara walked more than three batters per nine innings in 2018, and that number increased to more than six walks per nine in his limited, 34-inning sample in the big leagues. All three of his secondary offerings have above-average to plus potential, though Alcantara relied more heavily on his mid-to-upper 80s slider against righthanders, while backing off using his low-80s curveball as much. His upper-80s changeup provides another potential swing-and-miss pitch, most notably against lefthanders.
The Future: Alcantara has the pure stuff of a frontline starter, but his control will decide his fate. After ending 2018 in the Marlins' rotation, the 23-year-old should compete for a spot in the Opening Day rotation in 2019.
Along-time member of the Cardinals' stable of 100 mph Latin American arms, Alcantara had a breakout season in 2016 but experienced more of an up-and-down year in 2017, when his untamed arsenal yielded more hits and fewer strikeouts than his raw stuff would indicate. Even then, the 6-foot-4 righthander, who originally signed out of the Dominican Republic for $125,000 in 2013, earned a September callup and averaged 99 mph on his fastball in eight appearances as a reliever. Alcantara's big arm, tantalizing pure stuff and his proximity to the majors made him an intriguing, high-upside prospect for the Marlins to receive as the headliner in the return for outfielder Marcell Ozuna. Alcantara packs big velocity but has yet to fully harness it. His fastball sits 96-97 mph as a starter, touches 100 and has been clocked as high as 102. It's a big pitch, but Alcantara's command and control are below-average, resulting in too many hittable fastballs over the plate or well off. His preferred pitch is an upper-90s sinker, but it's taken a backseat as he's focused on his four-seam fastball command. Alcantara complements his fastball with flashes of promising secondaries, but they have yet to become consistent. Both his curveball and slider tend to run together into an 83-88 mph power breaking ball, but he is learning to separate them, and they both project as average. His 90-92 mph changeup is wildly inconsistent and rarely used but flashes above-average potential. Ultimately, Alcantara has the raw stuff to one day become a front-of-the-rotation starter, headlined by a fastball that is capable of sitting in the upper 90s for entire starts. He will, however, have to improve his command if he wants to reach that potential. If not––or if Alcantara never truly hones his breaking ball or changeup––then there is a chance the hard-throwing righthander will be forced to the role of a late-inning reliever. Despite receiving a handful of innings with the Cardinals in 2016, Alcantara will likely start in his first season with the Marlins at Triple-A New Orleans in 2018. If all goes well, Alcantara could be in the Marlins' rotation by season's end and for many years to come.
Longer than they've been pros, Alcantara and teammate Junior Fernandez have been linked, from their time with the same trainer (Felix Liriano) to 2016 in the same, power-packed Peoria rotation. For the first time, Alcantara surged ahead as a prospect. Signed for a $125,000 bonus at 17, the righthander always had a frame and untamed power that suggested robust talent. During an extended spring outing in 2015, he hit 102 mph with his fastball and he routinely touched 100 mph while sitting 95-96. At the time of his promotion to high Class A Palm Beach, he led the Midwest League with 119 strikeouts. There is still room on Alcantara's frame for strength gains, and that could help the lean, loose, wiry starter center his delivery and make it more consistent. The makings are there. At present, he can lose his feel for his mechanics and his fastball drifts up or out of the zone and the walks flow. Alcantara improved throughout the season and started showing an effective curve and above-average changeup. The righthander has packed on the innings as a pro and his three-pitch mix is enough for the Cardinals to project him as a starter, even ahead of sidekick Fernandez. Primed for a return to Palm Beach and its pitcher-friendly environs, Alcantara's climb is about to accelerate, especially if a need opens at higher levels for a 100-mph blowtorch in the bullpen.
Alcantara trained with Felix Liriano, who also trained Junior Fernandez. The duo teamed together in the Dominican Summer League in 2014 and again in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2015. Alcantara, who signed for $125,000 as a 17-year-old, is more raw than Fernandez despite the fact that he's two years older. Alcantara has electric arm strength and excellent size at 6-foot-4, 170 pounds. He's loose-armed and lean with a fastball that has reached 102 mph at its best and sat as high as 97-98 at times in the GCL. He doesn't consistently repeat his delivery and throw fastball strikes, but his ability to overpower is obvious. Alcantara started throwing a curveball after throwing a slider earlier in his career, and he made progress with the pitch as well as his changeup. He has room to gain strength that would help him maintain his delivery better, but already he has shown durability, leading the GCL with 12 starts and 64 innings. Alcantara has a starter's delivery, and if the Cardinals can be patient with him, he could deliver a significant payoff. If he shows enough polish in 2016, he could jump to the rotation at low Class A Peoria.
Minor League Top Prospects
The flamethrowing Alcantara made huge strides going from a thrower to a pitcher this year, finishing sixth in the PCL with a 3.89 ERA and cutting his walk rate by nearly two percent. He made his first major league start on June 29 and returned to the Marlins’ rotation in September. Alcantara’s four-seam fastball still sits 95-96 mph and frequently touches 100, and his low 90s two-seamer is a weapon that gets under righthanded bats. Where he’s made strides is with his changeup, making it a competitive pitch batters actually have to consider, and his short slider grew into an effective fourth pitch to give him a more complete arsenal. “He showed that he could control the strike zone a little bit better and used his secondaries better,” Memphis manager Stubby Clapp said. “It was all better when we saw him.” Alcantara still gets a little wild and doesn’t miss as many bats as his stuff might suggest, but his control and command are moving in the right direction. The improvements Alcantara has made give him a better chance to remain a starter, with late-inning relief still a fallback.
The long and wiry Alcantara, who made 25 appearances (22 starts) for Springfield this season before the Cardinals called him up on Sept. 1, showcased an upper-90s fastball and a power breaking ball. He ranked sixth among qualified TL pitchers with a strikeout rate of 7.6 per nine innings. Though his stuff is electric, Alcantara has some command issues to work through. His walk rate of 3.9 per nine ranked second-worst in the TL, leaving some doubt whether his future role is as a late-innings reliever or high-upside starter. A changeup in the high 80s to low 90s works as a quality third pitch for Alcantara, who struck out five of the first 11 batters he faced at the major league level.
Part of a promising pitching staff at Peoria that also included righthanders Junior Fernandez, Derian Gonzalez and Jake Woodford, Alcantara led the MWL with 119 strikeouts at the time of his late-July promotion to high Class A Palm Beach. Of all the talented arms in the MWL, Alcantara has the highest ceiling because of present stuff. He throws a fastball that has touched 100 mph, a curveball with depth and an effective changeup with good arm speed. He also owns a lean, 6-foot-4 frame. At his best, Alcantara keeps the ball down in the zone, but at times he can lose feel for his breaking ball. Command of all of his pitches will be the most important factor that determines whether he can be a starter.
Instead of paying big bucks for 16-year-old international pitchers on July 2, the Cardinals have found quality arms in the Dominican Republic by investing in older pitchers like Carlos Martinez and Alex Reyes. They had two more who fit that mold on their GCL team, one of them being Alcantara, who signed for $125,000 in 2013 when he was 17. Since then, he's grown an inch, added nearly 30 pounds to his gangly frame and added 10 mph to his fastball. Alcantara topped out at 92 mph when he signed, but even though he's still tall and thin, he now sits at 94-98 mph and has reached 102. His fastball is an overpowering pitch, but he also complements it with a good changeup on which he maintains arm speed to fool hitters, and it has a chance to become a solid-average to plus pitch. Alcantara also has feel for a curveball, a potential average pitch. For a tall pitcher, Alcantara doesn't have too much effort or mechanical inefficiencies, though he's still working to keep his long levers in sync to be able to throw consistent strikes, something that improved over the course of the season. He has a starter's repertoire and frame.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Fastball in the St. Louis Cardinals in 2018
The headlining prospect in the Marcell Ozuna trade with the Cardinals, Alcantara began the season at Triple-A New Orleans and reached the majors for a June 29 start against the Mets. Armed with an upper-90s fastball that can reach triple digits, Alcantara struggles with control, which hinders the explosiveness of his pure stuff. He also throws a power breaking ball and low-90s changeup. He landed on the 10-day disabled list shortly after his major league start with a right axillary infection, but he should return to the Marlins’ rotation in the near future. Improved command would help his stuff play up.
Background: Longer than they've been pros, Alcantara and teammate Junior Fernandez have been linked, from their time with the same trainer (Felix Liriano) to 2016 in the same, power-packed Peoria rotation. For the first time, Alcantara surged ahead as a prospect. Signed for a $125,000 bonus at 17, the righthander always had a frame and untamed power that suggested robust talent. During an extended spring outing in 2015, he hit 102 mph with his fastball and he routinely touched 100 mph while sitting 95-96. At the time of his promotion to high Class A Palm Beach, he led the Midwest League with 119 strikeouts. Scouting Report: There is still room on Alcantara's frame for strength gains, and that could help the lean, loose, wiry starter center his delivery and make it more consistent. The makings are there. At present, he can lose his feel for his mechanics and his fastball drifts up or out of the zone and the walks flow. Alcantara improved throughout the season and started showing an effective curve and above-average changeup. The righthander has packed on the innings as a pro and his three-pitch mix is enough for the Cardinals to project him as a starter, even ahead of sidekick Fernandez.
The Future: Primed for a return to Palm Beach and its pitcher-friendly environs, Alcantara's climb is about to accelerate, especially if a need opens at higher levels for a 100-mph blowtorch in the bullpen.
- Dominican Republic activated RHP Sandy Alcantara.