In 2013, Sandy signed with the Cardinals (see Transactions below).
Sandy trained with Felix Liriano, who also trained Junior Fernandez.
In 2016, Baseball America rated Alcantara as 6th-best prospect in the Cardinals' organization. Sandy was 4th-best prospect in the offseason before 2018 spring camps opened. He moved up to #2 in the spring of 2019.
2017: Alcantara was invited to play in the AFL Fall Stars Game.
Sandy lifts weights almost every day, except the day before he pitches and the day after.
Alcantara has his brother’s nickname tattooed on his left shoulder, and there’s a reason why that ink is there. Sandy is one of 11 children. But Alcantara lost his 17-year-old brother Alexander last October, when the teen died in a motorcycle crash in their native Dominican Republic.
The tragic news arrived just as Alcantara was about to pitch in the Arizona Fall League.
“I cried a lot,” said Alcantara, who couldn’t make it home for the funeral. “He was a great kid, devoted to our mother. And his life was cut short.”
Sandy vows to dedicate his career to his brother, and so far he has done well. (Walter Villa - Baseball America - 9/21/2018)
July 2019: Alcantara earned his first career All-Star selection. The Marlins rookie righthander came into the game with a mere 144 big league innings under his belt, including 101 this season. In his comparatively short MLB career, nothing matched the magnitude of taking the mound in the eighth inning of his first Midsummer Classic. Alcantara worked a scoreless eighth inning for the National League, including striking out Whit Merrifield of the Royals on a 99 mph four-seam fastball.
2019 season: It took some convincing to get the 24-year-old to buy in, but after he did, the results were telling. Alcantara finished up his first full big league season with 32 starts, a 3.88 ERA and close to 200 innings pitched.
“He has turned the corner,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “The confidence has been building. For Sandy, our conversations have been about being aggressive. 'Let’s get in the strike zone. Your stuff is good. Let’s go attack.' You have to refine even that as you go along.”
It started with durability. His 197 innings pitched set a Marlins’ rookie record, and was the 17th most in the Majors. A year ago, the hard-throwing righthander opened the season at Triple-A New Orleans and, after being promoted in June, he missed more than two months with a right axillary infection.
Staying healthy wasn’t a concern this year, and Alcantara made steady strides, improving as the season rolled along. In his final seven starts, he had a 3.02 ERA, with 43 strikeouts in 48 innings.
“I always say, I work hard to get better every time,” Alcantara said. “That’s what I did. I learned from the small things. I focused on working my two-seam fastball for strikes. That’s what I have to do.” (Joe Frisaro- Oct. 18. 2019 - MLB.com)
March 17, 2020: Alcantara is throwing his support behind a COVID-19 relief effort. As part of PledgeIt initiative, an Alcantara autographed baseball is up for bidding, and the proceeds will benefit Center for Disaster Philanthropy, Inc. Alcantara announced via Twitter that he is among the athletes, from all sports, participating in the campaign.
In his Tweet, the Marlins' ace said: “We need to come together.” Anyone who donates at least $25 will be entered to win a signed Alcantara baseball; the winner will be selected randomly at the conclusion of the fundraising period.
As the Marlins and MLB are in a holding pattern, Alcantara is urging everyone to come together. On Alcantara’s PledgeIt page, this statement was posted: “If we’re going to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives, it’s going to take all of us pitching in. Please join me, by making a donation here, and together we can make a difference!”
For the signed baseball, fans can bid: $25, $50, $100 or $250 to assist in the virus relief effort. (J Frisaro - MLB.com - March 17, 2020)
July 20-25, 2021: Sandy was on the bereavement list.
It was with a heavy heart that Sandy took the mound on July 27, 2021. His mother Francisca, the woman his family called “captain,” passed away last week. Upon learning the news in Washington, Alcantara returned to his native Dominican Republic before rejoining the ballclub on July 25th in Miami.
“She just took care of all of us,” Alcantara said. “Every morning I had a ‘have a good day’ text message or a blessing from her. I’m going to miss that. I will keep those messages and voice notes. She's the captain of the house, and that was hard for my family and for me, because she supported me and all my brothers and sister all the time. It is what it is. We've got to keep doing what we're doing.”
And that Alcantara did, recording a quality start in his first outing back from the bereavement list in Miami’s 7-3 win over Baltimore at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Alcantara used the mound as a respite, a place to forget about his recent loss. Already an ultra-focused individual, Alcantara keyed in on each pitch.
“This week was hard for me because I lost my mom, and I hope God has her in a great place right now,” Alcantara said. “I feel good right now, being outside. I did a pretty good job today, and I hope God keeps giving me the opportunity to keep doing that." (DeNicola - mlb.com - 7/26/2021)
July 2, 2013: Alcantara signed with the Cardinals as an international free agent, out of the Dominican. Sandy signed for $125,000 at age 16, via scout Rodney Jimenez.
- Dec. 13, 2017: The Marlins traded Marcell Ozuna to the Cardinals, receiving outfielder Magneuris Sierra and RHPs Sandy Alcantara and Zac Gallen.
|Birth City:||San Juan de la Maguana, Dom. Rep.|
|Draft:||2013 - Cardinals - Free agent - Out of the D.R.|
Alcantara has an overpowering 94-102 mph FASTBALL that is a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale and a 92-96 mph 2-seam SINKER. He also has what may become an average (45 now, 50 in the future) 84-88 mph SLIDER with depth that retired righthanded hitters. He has a CURVEBALL. He also has a very good 88-90 mph CHANGEUP on which he maintains arm speed to fool hitters, and it has a chance to become a solid-average to plus pitch (a 60) if he gains some consistency with it. It is another swing-and-miss pitch, especially against lefthanded hitters.
Improved command of all his pitches is the most important factor for Sandy to remain a starter. Even with his velo his fastball becomes hittable in the middle of the plate. All of his pitches need much more consistent control. You can throw it as hard as you want, but if you leave it up over the plate, you're going to get hit. (Spring, 2019)
“He throws hard, but they will hit you as you go up levels if that’s all you have,” New Orleans manager Arnie Beyeler said of Alcantara. “He needs more reps. He’s done a good job, but he needs to continue to develop his fastball command.” (July, 2018)
2017 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball 28.4% of the time; Sinker 38.1% of the time; Change 11.6%; and Slider 21.9% of the time.
2018 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball 33.5% of the time, his Sinker 26.5%; Change 13.2%; Slider 22.2%; and Curveball 4.6% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 96.1 mph, Sinker 95.8, Change 89.7, Slider 86.1, and Curve 82.1 mph.
2019 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball 29.7% of the time, his Sinker 27.3%; Change 12.9%; Slider 23.6%; Curveball 6.8%; and Cutter less than 1% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 95.9 mph, Sinker 95.6, Change 89.5, Slider 86.1, Curve 81.3, and Cutter 93.7 mph.
For such a tall (6-feet-4), lean righthander, Sandy doesn't have very much effort. His mechanics are pretty clean, though he is still working to keep his long levers in sync to be able to throw consistent strikes, something that improved over the course of the 2015 season.
Sandy needs to repeat his delivery more consistently. He has room to gain strength, which would help him maintain his delivery. He can lose feel for his mechanics, and his fastball drifts up or out of the strike zone.
Alcantara has near-average control. He no longer has major command issues and has games where he only walks a couple or three batters. He is becoming that guy who can strike out guys and induce ground balls. His fastball has nice movement. That makes a special pitcher. He is also good about not worrying about what happened. He can focus on the guy at home plate. He won't let an error affect him. (July 2016)
Sandy has a starter’s repertoire and frame, very tall and lean with a loose right arm. And he is durable.
In 2016, Alcantara got more strikeouts, surprising with the kind of heat Sandy throws. But he wasn't getting Ks with his fastball.
"Before, I wasn't able to strike out a lot of guys," Alcantara said through an interpreter in 2016. "I would strike out people, but not in these kind of numbers. My breaking pitch is getting better. That's why I'm able to strike out more people."
His strikeout surge wasn't a focused aspect of his development.
"I want to get people out," Alcantara said. "If I can get the strikeout, I'll go for the strikeout, but the important thing is get the batter out, however that happens.
"I'm focused to get a first-pitch strike, so I can work ahead and then work in the breaking pitch. I want to learn to keep batters off-balance. At times, I can overpower a batter, but that doesn't happen often at this level (Single-A)."
The Marlins are developing Alcantara as a starter. Sandy is supremely confident, and all that he is missing is fastball command. (July 2018)
2019 Season: The Marlins have not hesitated testing the limits of rookie righthander Sandy Alcantara down the stretch. And the organization has shown no intention of scaling back his workload in the final week and a half.
Alcantara reached a franchise milestone at Chase Field, setting Miami’s club record for innings pitched by a rookie. The 24-year-old, who is making a case to enter 2020 as the team’s ace, logged 5 2/3 innings, though he yielded five runs (four earned) on seven hits and two walks in a 5-4 loss to the D-backs.
Alcantara is now at 184 innings this season, topping the 180 thrown by Scott Olsen in 2006.
“I feel really good about that,” Alcantara said. “I come from the Dominican Republic, and I got ready there in the offseason to come here and compete. I want to finish strong. I’ve got two starts left. I want to finish healthy and give 100 percent.”
In the final two months, Alcantara ranked 12th among starters in ERA and 10th in WHIP. The secrets to the rookie's second-half success were improved control (3.2 walks per nine innings) and an improved chase rate out of the zone (70th percentile). Alcantara imparts such spin on his pitches that he is difficult for batters to square up, thus he can probably thrive with a slightly below-average strikeout rate. (Matt Eddy - Baseball America - Spring, 2020)
July 14, 2020: Sandy Alcantara established himself as a frontline starter in 2019. The Marlins made it official that the 24-year-old right-hander will be the ace of their staff. Alcantara will be the Opening Day starter, manager Don Mattingly announced during The Line Drive show on the club's YouTube channel.
2020 Season: 3-2, 3.00 ERA, 42.0 IP, 39 K, 1.19 WHIP
Repertoire: 34.9% Sinker, 24.8% 4-Seam Fastball, 22.1% Slider, 10.3% Changeup, 8% Curveball
At quick glance, Alcantara can look a bit like a slightly older version of Sanchez. He has a high-90’s heater, a swing and miss changeup, and a 5 pitch mix that gives him a lot of potential for exceptional results. His 2020 season showed that. An appealing 3.00 ERA and an above-average WHIP are nothing to shy away from, especially in deeper leagues. It’s a shame that he spent nearly a full month on the IL last season, because this really could have been the year to kick it into an entirely new gear.
Where Alcantara does seem to be improving is in his strikeouts and walks. After a 6.89 K/9 in an impressive 197.1 IP in 2019, Alcantara upped it to 8.36 in 2020. Still slightly below average, but coupled with that consistently improving walk rate (down to 3.21/9 in 2020) and Alcantara is looking like bargain bin gold. Did I mention he is still only 25? This guy has a ton of room for growth, and I think his reduced counting stats due to injury in 2020, along with a certain bias towards pitchers on “bad” teams, will leave you scooping up a very effective SP3 in the later rounds who could well outperform that. I’ll take Sixto for the ceiling, but I am all over Alcantara for the high floor.
March 18, 2021: - The club announced that Sandy would be its 2021 Opening Day starter for the second straight year.
Sept. 25, 2021: Alcantara became the first Marlins pitcher to reach 200 innings in a season since 2012.
Oct 1, 2021: Alcantara became the fifth pitcher in Marlins franchise history to record 200 innings and 200 strikeouts in the same season, joining Al Leiter (1996), Kevin Brown ('97), Ryan Dempster (2000) and A.J. Burnett ('02). Only two other Major League pitchers have achieved the feat in '21: National League Cy Young Award candidates Walker Buehler and Zack Wheeler.
As of the start of the 2021, Sandy had a career record of: 11-19 with a 3.71 ERA, having allowed 32 home runs and 248 hits in 281 innings. (Matt Wallach - Jan. 20, 2021)
- 2021 Season: The 2021 team-leader with a 4.1 WAR, Alcantara turned in a career-season posting a 3.19 ERA with 201 strikeouts across 205.2 innings pitched. Making a career-high 33 starts, the 26-year-old right-hander was a constant throughout in the Marlins starting rotation making Alcantara an easy-pick for the Marlins 2021 MVP. (FANSIDED)
July 3-Aug. 6, 2018: Sandy was on the DL with right axillary infection.
- Aug 4-30, 2020: Sandy was on the IL