On Wednesday afternoon the Miami Marlins traded outfielder Marcell Ozuna to the St. Louis Cardinals for four prospects: outfielder Magneuris Sierra, and pitching prospects Sandy Alcantara, Daniel Castano, and Zac Gallen. Here’s a quick take on the trade.
Sandy Alcantara, RHP: The Cardinals signed Alcantara out of the Dominican Republic in 2013. He spent most of 2017 with Springfield in the Double-A Texas League, posting a 4.31 ERA in 125 innings with a 106/54 K/BB. He pitched in the majors in September, seeing relief work and posting a 4.32 ERA in 8.1 innings with a 10/6 K/BB.
We wrote this report on Alcantara back in September and it is still valid: fastball in the mid-to-upper-90s, mixing in a good change-up and inconsistent breaking ball. With more breaking ball development and sharper command he could be a number three starter, perhaps more, although many observers think he will wind up as a reliever, albeit a possibly dominant one. In my opinion he needs a year of Triple-A to add more polish to his arsenal. Right now I rate him as a solid Grade B prospect.
Daniel Castano, LHP: Castano was drafted by the Cardinals in the 19th round in 2016 from Baylor University. He pitched in the New York-Penn League in 2017, posting a 2.57 ERA in 91 innings with an 81/13 K/BB. His statistics were impressive but he has yet to reach full-season ball.
Castano is age 23, listed at 6-4, 230 pounds. He does not throw especially hard, with a fastball in the 87-91 range, but he keeps hitters off-mark with a curveball, cutter, and change-up and he throws strikes. We need to see how he fares against more experienced hitters but he’s put himself on the radar as a Grade C type.
Zac Gallen, RHP: Gallen was drafted in the third round in 2016 from the University of North Carolina. His first full pro season in 2017 was highly successful, with a combined 2.93 ERA between High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A with a 121/35 K/BB in 148 innings.
Gallen is listed at 6-2, 190, age 22. He is one of the most polished pitchers in the minor leagues, featuring stellar command of his 90-94 MPH fastball, curveball, cutter, and change-up. While none of his pitches are excellent by themselves, his ability to mix them efficiently helps everything play up. He does not have Alcantara’s physical upside but his feel for pitching is stronger and I would also rate him as a Grade B prospect.
Magneuris Sierra, OF: Sierra is from the Dominican Republic, signed by the Cardinals in 2012. He split 2017 between High-A and Double-A, hitting a combined .270/.318/.373 with 27 walks and 74 strikeouts in 408 at-bats, stealing 20 bases in 30 attempts. He received some time in the majors as well, hitting .317/.359/.317 with in 60 at-bats with four walks, 14 strikeouts, and a pair of steals.
Sierra is listed at 5-11, 160, a left-handed hitter and thrower, age 21. As you may expect from his statistical profile speed is his best asset. He needs more polish as a baserunner but uses the speed very well in the outfield. He also has a strong arm and profiles very well in center.
The main question is his bat. He usually makes contact but is a rather aggressive hitter with a low walk rate. He hasn’t shown much home run power to this point and given his physical build he’s not likely to develop into a substantial power source, although there’s some wiry strength there and he should hit some doubles and triples.
An optimistic read on his hitting (i.e., more power and/or a higher OBP) would project him as a long-term regular in center field. If his batting average remains empty he might be more of a defense-oriented fourth outfielder. Given his young age at 21, an optimistic read is quite plausible and he currently rates as a Grade B prospect for me.