Sandy Alcantara, our 5th ranked Cardinals’ prospect is off to an interesting start in his first taste of AA. He has faced the Rangers’ farm team twice now, and the results could not be further apart. The flashes of excellence are evident, while also exhibiting the need for more polish. I was able to attend his last outing in Springfield, and will take a deeper dive into it than the predecessor.
Overview of the Outings
During his first outing on April 7th, Alcantara blanked the RoughRiders over six strong innings. He yielded four hits, one walk and struck out four. In his April 13th outing, he was wild most of the night, leading to poor results. He gave up seven earned runs, on six hits, two walks but did strikeout five. Alcantara seemed to labor throughout the entire outing, something that did not occur in his season debut at Frisco.
4/13 Outing – 1st Inning
Alcantara took the mound in front of a sold out home opener crowd at Hammons Field. He allowed a lead-off single, then advanced the runner with a wild pitch. A stolen base again advanced the runner to third. The Frisco runners repeatedly got good jumps off Alcantara from second base. He then retired the next two hitters on a fly out and strikeout respectively. He appeared to be on the verge of escaping trouble before Frisco’s Eric Aguilera took him deep to dead center. Alcantara struggled all night to command his pitches, leaving fastballs up in the zone while repeatedly bouncing his off-speed offerings. The home run given up to Aguilera was on a dead center fastball. He retired the final batter of the inning on a broken bat line out back his way.
4/13 Outing – 2nd Inning
The second inning started out much the way of the first. Alcantara again threw a fastball down the heart of plate that Frisco’s Andy Ibanez sent over the left field wall. As Kyle said Thursday night “Doesn’t matter what or how fast you throw when it’s mid-meat”. Following the homer, Alcantara unintentionally fired his next fastball at 97 into Matt Lipka’s wrist (he did not finish the game)… Alcantara did manage to strikeout two batters in the inning, but also yielded another single to put Springfield down 4-0.
4/13 Outing – 3rd Inning
The third inning saw Alcantara put up his only zero of the night. Though the inning was not particularly clean, it was great to see him work out of trouble. The first batter reached on a fielding error by second baseman Eliezer Alvarez. Alcantara then proceeded to move him to second and third on consecutive wild pitches. In total he threw five wild pitches during this 3 2/3 innings. With the runner on third and no outs, Alcantara stranded him with a ground out, shallow fly out, and strikeout. The final pitch of the inning was a 99 mph fastball he reached back and blew by the Frisco hitter.
4/13 Outing – 4th Inning
His final inning of the night looks much worse in the box score than his pitching indicated. He allowed a lead-off walk but recovered to put away the next batter with a fantastic strikeout. This sequence truly showed the stuff Alcantara has and how dominant he can be. He started off the at-bat with a 97 mph fastball to get ahead. He followed that up with a 77 mph off-speed pitch on the outside corner. The batter geared up for another fastball and was halfway through his swing before trying to hold up and finishing ridiculously off-balance. Alcantara then bounced a curve in the dirt, came back with an inside fastball that was fouled off, and put him away with a beautiful 12-6 curve at 81 mph. His next pitch was a fastball lined down the third baseline to score the runner. This was followed up with another walk and wild pitch. Two more runs scored on a broken bat blooper just over the head of Alex Mejia at shortstop. Alcantara made a good pitch to jam the hitter, but luck was not on his side. He got his final batter of the night to fly out to right field before being replaced by Corey Baker.
A Work in Progress
While his second outing was not good, fans should not worry about the young flame thrower. The Texas League is historically tough on pitchers, and facing the same lineup in back-to-back starts is no small feat. If he can control the zone, Alcantara has the stuff to be a dominant major league starter. Some of us at the Redbird Daily think he may even see time in the St. Louis ‘pen before the end of the season, a la Alex Reyes in 2016.
Thanks for reading!