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St. Louis Cardinals Top Prospects #5

Every other day over the next two months, John Nagel and Kyle Reis will announce a new prospect on The Redbird Daily’s Top 30 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect List. For each prospect, John and Kyle will reveal where that prospect landed on their personal lists and also few thoughts on the prospect. We hope you enjoy!

Prospect #5: Sandy Alcantara – International Signee, 2013

2016 Stats: Peoria/Palm Beach – 5-11, 3.96 ERA, 122.2 IP, 153 K, 59BB

Kyle Reis (Prospect #5 On Personal List)

We are at the point on our list where there is very little that I can tell you about the prospect that you don’t already know. These are the high profile players. The players everyone is writing about. Alcantara is the perfect example.

It seems like Alcantara has taken over as the flashy pitching prospect in the organization since Alex Reyes went down for Tommy John surgery. His 100+ MPH fastball has a small section of the fan base clamoring to see him pitch for the parent club by the end of the season. His pedigree and profile has both local and national journalist writing and talking platitudinously about him. It’s a terribly worn out catch phrase in sports, but if you are going to buy stock in one pitcher in the system not named Reyes it’s Alcantara.

Most evaluators, including my wise Sensei that’ll follow me here and the esteemed Derrick Goold, believe that the Cardinals will push the 21 year old Alcantara to double A Springfield to start the year. I am not so bullish on that idea. I love the idea of Alcantara pitching in the pitcher friendly confines of Roger Dean Stadium and the Florida State League. As advanced as Alcantara is, there is still a lot of refining that he needs to do and there isn’t a better place to refine than the organizations training ground in Jupiter.

Alcantara is often mentioned in the same breath with Carlos Martinez and Alex Reyes, but both of those gentlemen at least started their second year of full season baseball at Palm Beach. If Springfield is where Alcantara starts then he is effectively on a faster track than either Martinez or Reyes. I think it’s much more likely that Sandy ends up following in Martinez’ footsteps; after starting the last 10 games of the 2011 season at Palm Beach, Martinez started 2012 right back tin Jupiter to smooth out some of the rough edges. Eight starts later he was pitching in Springfield. Alcantara made 6 starts in Palm Beach to end 2016. Smart money is that he’ll have earned a promotion to Springfield by June 1st. At least, that is how I’d handle a kid that walked batters to the tune of 4.3 per 9 IP in 2016. Especially with the pitching depth in the organization.

Alcantara is a tricky player to get a feel for. He is undoubtedly high-caliber with sky-ceiling upside. His size, 6’4 190-ish, makes it hard to come up with a visual comparison for the flame thrower. I do see some similarities with Pittsburg Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon. If you take the body side out of the equation, I see a lot of Danny Salazar. in Alcantara. I especially like the Salazar comparison because they have a similar repertoire, K ability, and command issues. If not, Alcantara has a chance to be an absolutely dominant bullpen arm.

 

John Nagel (Prospect #7 on Personal List)

If I had a re-do on prospect rankings, I would probably rank Sandy Alcantara a couple of spots higher. As Kyle mentioned, he has probably been the most talked about prospect in the organization this spring. I will throw another buzz word out at you and that is “helium”. Around MLB Draft time, experts like to say of players who are rising up draft boards that they have “helium”. We can use the word in this case too.

Alcantara is definitely a rare talent and has recently surged past former Peoria teammate Junior Fernandez, likely because Alcantara looks to have a possible impressive 3 pitch mix. Prior to his promotion to Palm Beach late last season, Alcantara led the Midwest League in strikeouts. As Kyle also mentioned, he has good size and probably has some room to get bigger and stronger.

Kyle mentioned that I believe Alcantara will jump to Double-A Springfield, and I do, however it’s more because of what the chatter has been this off-season. There is some concern that he will struggle in the hitter friendly Texas League, but everything I have been hearing points to that location as his final stop. We will find out in about 10 days.

There will be growing pains for this 21-year old fireballer. He has had the same command issues that Alex Reyes and Carlos Martinez had. However, I think that is something the Cardinals can work out from the kid who can hit 100 MPH with ease.

If Alcantara does being the season at Double-A Springfield and continues to strikeout batters at a high clip, he will likely become a top MLB prospect by mid-season. There will not be too many 21-year olds who can throw 100 MPH and are dominating at a AA level. This jump may back fire for the Cardinals, but if it works they could have another ace on their hands.

 

How we rank prospects: Click Here
Best of The Rest: Click Here
#30 Prospect: Daniel Poncedeleon
#29 Prospect: Jonathan Machado
#28 Prospect: Jeremy Martinez
#27 Prospect: John Gant
#26 Prospect: Alvaro Seijas
#25 Prospect: Nick Plummer
#24 Prospect: Jordan Hicks
#23 Prospect: Zac Gallen
#22 Prospect: Bryce Denton
#21 Prospect: Johan Oviedo
#20 Propsect: Randy Arozarena
#19 Prospect: Connor Jones
#18 Prospect: Dylan Carlson
#17 Prospect: Ronnie Williams
#16 Prospect: Paul DeJong
#15 Prospect: Ryan Helsley
#14 Prospect: Eli Alvarez
#13 Prospect: Jake Woodford
#12 Prospect: Dakota Hudson
#11 Prospect: Junior Fernandez
#10 Prospect: Magneuris Sierra
#9 Prospect: Edmundo Sosa
#8 Prospect: Jack Flaherty
#7 Prospect: Harrison Bader
#6 Prospect: Austin Gomber
#5 Prospect: Sandy Alcantara
#4 Prospect: 3/27
#3 Prospect: 3/29
#2 Prospect: 3/31
#1 Prospect: 4/2

Kyle Reis
Kyle is a South City St Louis born and raised. He is 30 years old and grew up at old Busch Stadium. His favorite Cardinals player of all time is Ray Lankford. Kyle is an overly simple person who loves countable baseball statistics, following minor league baseball, and friendly discourse. He tends to not take people seriously that refer for the team that they root for as "we" instead of "them".
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