On September 1st the St. Louis Cardinals promoted right-handed pitcher Sandy Alcantara to the major league roster. He’s seen limited action so far, just 1.2 innings of work over a pair of appearances on September 3rd and September 12th, but has the talent to contribute much more in the future. Let’s take a look.
Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2013 for $125,000, Alcantara jumped from rookie ball in 2015 to A-ball in 2016 and performed reasonably, posting a 3.96 ERA in 123 innings with a 153/59 K/BB. Alcantara ranked ninth on the St. Louis Cardinals pre-season Top 20 prospects list for 2017 with this comment:
9) Sandy Alcantara, RHP, Grade B/B-: Age 21, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2013; posted 3.96 ERA in 123 innings between Low-A and High-A; 153/59 K/BB, 103 hits; high strikeout and low hit rates dovetail well with reports of fastball that can hit 96-100 MPH; curveball and change-up are erratic but promising enough for him to project as a starter; needs sharper command but can flash it; the Cardinals have helped many similar pitchers harness their stuff and the same may happen here. ETA: late 2019.
He continued his progress in Double-A in 2017, posting a 4.31 ERA in 125 innings with a 106/54 K/BB. He struggled somewhat in April and May but righted the ship in June and rang up a 3.08 ERA in his last 61 innings, 1.77 ERA in his last 46, until moving up to the majors for September.
Alcantara is officially listed at 6-4, 170 (but looks more like 180 or 185) a right-handed hitter and thrower born September 7th, 1995. He throws quite hard, hitting 100 at his best and maintaining his heater in the middle to upper-90s. He also has an above-average change-up but his breaking ball is inconsistent, impressive when it is working well but still erratic. Sharpening the third pitch is the main thing he needs to improve going forward.
He likely needs a year of Triple-A to polish the breaking ball, but as noted pre-season the Cardinals have a good record with guys like this. With full development of his secondaries and sharper command he could be a number three starter (or a nasty closer) if all goes well.