Hometown: Azua, Dominican Republic
Selected 2015 stats
Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)
Message board community (29): Sandy Alcantara was rated far lower by the community vote than where the other voters placed him, ultimately landing at #29. GM4aday posted that Alcantara has a young arm, but showed improvement in 2015, will only be 20 next year, and has a bigger frame than fellow Cardinal prospect, Ronnie Williams.
CariocaCardinal said that his fear is that Alcantara will end up being Maikel Cleto. Wileycard countered, saying that only the control separates Alcantara from fellow flame-thrower, Junior Fernandez, but that Alcantara is no Francisco Samuel either. BobReed pointed out that Alcantara is the kind of guy that could jump up a dozen or more spots with a good 2016 season. - Jeremy Byrd
Derek Shore (13): The Cardinal Nation first reported that Alcantara was topping at 100 mph with upper 90s velocity and two secondary pitches in extended spring training. The slender 6-foot-4 right-hander signed for $125,000 out of the Dominican in 2013 and collects his first TCN top 40 ranking with a 17th placement this winter.
Although Junior Fernandez jumped right into action upon signing, Alcantara's contract was for the 2014 season, when he accumulated a 3.97 ERA in 12 games (11 starts) in the Dominican Summer League. In his sophomore season but first stateside, the 20-year old was the Gulf Coast League Cardinals’ opening day starter. He posted a 3.22 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in 64 1/3 innings over 12 starts, while striking out 51 batters and walking 20.
Alcantara was said to sit in the low 90s before signing with the Cardinals in 2013. He has improved on that mark vastly. A Cardinals official told me Alcantara's biggest strength is a combination of natural tools and projectability.
The official has gotten limited looks of Alcantara, but said getting more comfortable in his delivery will change his game. He has a plus fastball, and the more comfortable he is within his delivery; his stuff will take off. The right-hander also throws a "hard" breaking ball, that is "unbelievably sharp at times" then just rolls it over other times and his change is a work-in-progress pitch.
It is safe to say only time will tell as to what Alcantara's ultimate ceiling or his eventual role will be. For now, his progress appears to be on the right developmental path. Like Fernandez, he could open with Peoria or stay in extended spring training with an early-season promotion possible, depending on need.
Brian Walton (15): It is only natural to discuss Alcantara and Fernandez - the two hard-throwing right-handers and teammates in the Gulf Coast League this past summer - together in these rankings.
Just to review the bidding, TCN’s message board community placed Fernandez six spots ahead of Alcantara, but neither in the top 20. Derek has both in his top 14, with Alcantara just one place ahead. I have Alcantara at 15, with Fernandez six spots behind. Basically, the community and I cancel each other out with Derek’s vote being the swinger, pushing Alcantara one spot on top in these rankings.
As I mentioned in the Fernandez write up, I have seen both pitchers multiple times this season, most recently in fall instructional league. From what I have seen, I think Alcantara is a bit farther along currently.
He was the talk of extended spring camp in early May when I reported his fastball touched 102 mph, a mark our Gulf Coast League Cardinals reporter Paul Ivice saw him hit again during the summer. Months later, in early October, even after the long season had concluded, Alcantara was consistently in the 96-99 mph range with his fastball and also deployed a change up and a curveball.
What impressed me as much as the velocity was the efficiency with which he pitched. For example, throwing after organization’s Co-Pitcher of the Year Austin Gomber and before Fernandez in a game in instructs on October 1, Alcantara pitched in the big Major League spring training park like a veteran.
Mixing his offerings, he plowed through the entire Miami lineup, nine batters in three innings. The impressive outing included three strikeouts, five ground outs and just one ball that got out of the infield – a lazy fly. Though one batter reached on an error, Alcantara induced a grounder from the next man up, which was converted into a double play.
Using at least three pitches in the process, Alcantara’s pitch counts by inning were 9-9-7. Three frames of work in just 25 pitches was about an impressive of an outing as one could expect.
Given Alcantara’s considerable height (6-foot-4), but current lack of left (just 170 pounds), one can only imagine how much better he could become with added weight and strength as he matures.
Our 2016 top 40 series continues: To see the entire list of top Cardinals prospects and remaining article schedule, click here. This includes the top 40 countdown and nine in-depth, follow-up articles. Most of the latter are exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation.
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