Exit Interview 2017: Sandy Alcantara

For the sixth straight year, we’re taking a look back at everyone that played for the St. Louis Cardinals this season.  Whether they were a major contributor or a bit player, here all year or for just a little while, we’ll look at their season and talk about what went right and what went wrong.  The stat line listed is just their time in St. Louis, though splits and other numbers in the discussion may be for the entire year.  Imagine this as them stopping by Mike Matheny‘s office for a little review on their way home for the winter.  As always when you see incredible artistry in the blogs, all credit for the header work goes to @cardinalsgifs.

Player: Sandy Alcantara

Season stats: 0-0, 4.32 ERA, 8 games, 8.1 IP, 9 H, 6 BB, 10 K, 1.800 WHIP, 6.04 FIP, -0.1 bWAR

Hero/Goat: None

Overall grade: C

Positives: Made his major league debut after spending most of the year in Springfield….struck out more than a batter an inning in the majors….had four consecutive scoreless outings, which dropped his ERA to 1.93….struck out the side in a perfect outing against the Cubs on September 15….struck out 106 batters in 125 innings at Springfield….was selected for the Arizona Fall League.

Negatives: Struggled with his command all year, walking six in 10 innings in the bigs and 54 in 125 innings at AA….command issues meant he could not be trusted in late game situations when his fastball could have been very helpful….posted a 4.38 ERA as a starter at Springfield, belying the high prospect expectations that were on him as the season began….had an 11.81 ERA with the bases loaded and also had a 5.95 ERA when behind in the count at AA.

Overview: We want our prospects to be shooting stars, streaking up the ladder and being dominant all the while.  Instead, Alcantara hit a bit of a speed bump on that road to Busch Stadium this season.  I actually got to see him once, when the Cardinals came to North Little Rock to face the Travelers, and it wasn’t a great first impression.  There’s still a lot to like about Alcantara, of course, and many successful players have these kind of setbacks.  The move to the bullpen allowed him to make his debut and his big arm plays well there but his lack of command would seem to be more dangerous in that setting than it would be as a starter.

Outlook: A guy that can regularly hit triple digits is going to get plenty of opportunities and even though it might have dimmed a little bit this year, there’s a still a very bright future for him.  Cutting down on the walks will be the first step toward him turning into the player we hoped he could be.  It will be interesting to see whether the Cardinals put him back in the rotation in the minors next year or start developing him as a bullpen arm.  I would hope that he’d go back to the rotation, probably starting at Springfield with a quick bump to Memphis if warranted, because a future rotation of him, Carlos Martinez, and Alex Reyes could be something to behold.

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