St. Louis Cardinals: Sandy Alcantara Is a Name to Watch
By Nathan Grime
The St. Louis Cardinals have a new wave of promising young pitchers building up in the minor leagues. Sandy Alcantara, who is in major-league camp this spring, is one of them.
Sandy Alcantara arrived at St. Louis Cardinals Spring Training a few weeks ago as one of many intriguing young pitchers in the organization. He signed with St. Louis in 2013 as a 17-year old international free agent from the Dominican Republic.
What sets him apart, however, is more than just his 102-mph fastball. He’s never pitched above high-A, yet General Manager John Mozeliak had some lofty expectations for the young right-hander (see quote below).
In 2012, a young prospect by the name of Trevor Rosenthal made the leap from AA Springfield to St. Louis late in the summer. The next year, Carlos Martinez made the trip from Springfield, Missouri to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to join the big-league club in May.
"“What could this year look like for him? It wouldn’t shock me if he pitched in the big leagues.” (John Mozeliak)"
Just last year, Luke Weaver made just one start at triple-A Memphis before getting the call-up to St. Louis. Alcantara could be this year’s quick-riser.
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Last season he made twenty-one starts between Class-A Peoria and High-A Palm Beach, going 5-11 with a 3.96 ERA. Those numbers don’t jump off a scouting report by themselves, but any scout who has seen Alcantara throw in person will tell you he’s got a load of talent.
His high-octane fastball has been clocked at 102 mph. He features a changeup and a curveball as well. In 122 2/3 minor-league innings last year, he struck out 153 hitters.
In his first outing this Spring, he struggled to stay in the strike zone and was tagged for four runs in 1 1/3 innings. His second outing yielded more success. On Thursday, he hurled two innings and although he allowed five baserunners, struck out three and kept the Braves off the board.
Alcantara will need to improve his control and lower his walk rate if he is going to pitch successfully this year. If he doesn’t meet Mozeliak’s prediction, that could be the inhibiting factor.
There’s reason to believe he will polish up his control as he develops a better feel for his pitches and discovers his identity as a pitcher. Working with the major-league coaching staff and getting exposure to major-league pitchers this Spring won’t hurt, either.
Next: A Check-In on Spring Training
We’ll see more of Alcantara as games continue this Spring. He’ll likely begin the year in the AA rotation, but it could be sooner rather than later that we see him making the trip to St. Louis that the young guns have before him.