No doubt, financial relief was the impetus for the Miami Marlins’ trades of Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon this offseason, but that wasn’t the only factor. Newly updated MLB prospect rankings highlight the upside of a couple prospects acquired in these controversial transactions.
Baseball America and ESPN.com (Insider subscription required) just unveiled their 2018 top prospect lists. BA made their entire top 100 available on Monday morning; ESPN’s Keith Law split his rankings into two parts, with No. 51-100 dropping on Monday, then No. 1-50 on Tuesday.
Right-handed pitcher Sandy Alcantara, centerpiece of the Ozuna package from the St. Louis Cardinals, placed 70th on the Baseball America list and 87th on the ESPN.com list. He spent most of the 2017 season at Double-A (125.1 IP, 4.31 ERA, 4.62 FIP, 106/54 K/BB), but also made his MLB debut—eight relief appearances with the Cardinals.
Law offers a detailed summary of his repertoire and potential:
“He is a huge right-handed starter who works at 94-100 mph and shows four pitches with none of the secondary offerings very consistent, which in turn lets hitters cheat a little on the big fastball.
“Alcantara’s curveball and slider can both show plus, with the curveball at 79-84 better than the cutter-like slider when I saw him, and he has a changeup that he doesn’t use enough to have much feel for it. The changeup was too firm when he worked in relief in the majors, but he created more separation between the change and the fastball in the Arizona Fall League and there’s hope it can be a solid-average pitch for him.”
Entering his age-22 season, Alcantara is intriguing yet risky.
“Many pitchers like this never figure it out,” Law writes, “but if they do, they can pitch at or near the top of a rotation or in the highest leverage roles in the bullpen.”
Baseball America gives Alcantara the following grades using the traditional scouting scale, which ranges from 20 to 80:
- Fastball: 70
- Curveball: 50
- Slider: 50
- Changeup: 40
- Control: 45
Guzman appears only on BA’s list at No. 87. He’s a few months younger than Alcantara and has significantly less professional experience. In a career-high 66 2⁄3 innings for the Single-A Staten Island Yankees, the Dominican flamethrower thrived (2.30 ERA, 2.47 FIP, 88/18 K/BB). Miami got him in December’s Stanton blockbuster.
Guzman’s current tools, per BA:
- Fastball: 80
- Slider: 50
- Changeup: 50
- Control: 50
Whether it’s through trading major league assets like Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto or savvy draft selections, the Marlins still need much more young talent to secure a bright future. But this is a decent start.