Alcantara tossed seven innings of one-run ball to pick up the win Tuesday in Triple-A New Orleans' 5-1 victory over Iowa. He scattered five hits and two walks and struck out three.
The right-hander lowered his ERA to 3.43 with the quality start and has consistently avoided blowup outings throughout the season, allowing no more than four earned runs in any of his 10 starts. Alcantara's strikeout rate sits at a pedestrian 6.4 K/9 for the season, but he's at least combated the lack of swing-and-miss stuff with improved control, as he has yielded just five total walks over his last five outings. The Marlins will probably give Alcantara a look in the big-league rotation at some point this summer, though expectations should be tempered from a fantasy standpoint in light of his diminished strikeout production and poor team context.
Alcantara had been in the mix for one of the three openings in the Miami rotation, but his dismissal leaves Odrisamer Despaigne, Justin Nicolino, Caleb Smith, Jacob Turner and Elieser Hernandez (mouth) to vie for those roles. The right-hander seemed to do enough to earn a rotation spot after compiling a 3.38 ERA and 1.19 WHIP over five spring outings, but the Marlins evidently felt he could use more development time at Triple-A. Since none of the remaining candidates seem destined to have much longevity in the rotation, Alcantara should have a starting spot waiting for him once the Marlins determine he's ready for the big leagues.
Alcantara gave up three runs on six hits and three walks over four innings while striking out four in Friday's Grapefruit League game against the Cardinals.
Four of the hits went for extra bases, including a first-inning homer by Yadier Molina, as the regulars in the Cards' lineup took the former Cards prospect to the woodshed. Alcantara now has an 11:6 K:BB and has given up three home runs through 16 spring innings, and while he still seems to be in the mix for a rotation spot, the Marlins may be better served by giving the 22-year-old fireballer his first taste of Triple-A before bringing him up to the majors for good.
Alcantara appears in line to break camp in the big-league rotation, Craig Mish of Sirius XM reports.
As Mish notes, Alcantara's schedule lines up for him to start the fourth game of the regular season. This is a big deal, as Miami won't need a fifth starter right away, so for Alcantara to be in line to be the No. 4 starter means that he is clearly ahead of those left competing for the final spot in the rotation. He has a 2.25 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and seven strikeouts in 12 innings this spring, but is probably not quite ready to quality big-league starter. Throwing strikes was a big issue for him last year, and while his fastball and changeup each has the potential to be a monster pitch, his slider lags behind as a clear third pitch. He has more upside than any Marlins starter, as he can touch triple digits with his fastball, so he is worth a flyer in NL-only leagues and deep mixed leagues now that it seems he has the inside track on a rotation spot.
Alcantara threw three scoreless innings of relief in Tuesday's Grapefruit League game against the Cardinals, walking two batters, hitting two others and uncorking a wild pitch but also allowing zero hits and striking out one.
The 22-year-old did his best Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh impression in the outing, but overall Alcantara has had a solid start to his spring, posting a 4:2 K:BB through eight innings. That likely isn't dominant enough to win him a rotation spot out of camp despite the Marlins' precarious pitching situation, but if he does begin the season at Triple-A New Orleans, a hot start could have him back in the majors in the first half.
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