Very rarely does Sandy Alcantara get the credit he deserves.
The Miami Marlins right-hander is certainly firing on all cylinders during spring training play.
“Sandy Alcántara: 7 spring innings, 1 baserunner,” Codify Baseball tweeted on Monday after the Marlins’ latest outing.
Sandy Alcántara: 7 spring innings, 1 baserunner 🔥
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) March 28, 2022
One shouldn’t put too much weight on spring training stats, especially when the sample is that small, but it’s always nice to see aces looking as such at such an early stage.
In 2019, Alcantara threw 197.1 innings with a 3.88 ERA, but experts pointed out at his lack of strikeouts (just 6.89 per nine frames) and stopped short of calling him ace.
A year later, in 2020, he posted a 3.00 ERA and upped the strikeouts, to 8.36 per nine innings, but folks would say that the sample size was too small (42 innings).
He Broke Out In A Big Way In 2021
In 2021, he finally pitched well and often enough to erase any doubts about his skill level.
Last year, he had a 3.19 ERA in 205.2 innings, with a career-high 8.80 strikeouts per nine frames.
It was the best season of his career, one that should get him more recognition around the league and, especially, with fans.
He finished with a 4.2 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) in 2021, and his previous career-high was 2.3 in 2019.
He unlocked his potential as a strikeout and groundball machine: 53.3 percent of the batted balls he got were on the ground, an elite rate.
It doesn’t help that he plays in the perpetually rebuilding Marlins, but he is the real deal.
It’s possible that he has another gear to unlock, so watch out.