It has not even been 24 hours since news broke of 22-year-old Pablo López getting a call-up, but the Marlins have given fans ANOTHER reason to be excited. CEO Derek Jeter announced on Wednesday afternoon that top pitching prospect Sandy Alcántara starts this Friday against the New York Mets.
Both López and Alcántara will be making their first career starts at the major league level.
Sandy was acquired from the Cardinals in the Marcell Ozuna trade during the offseason teardown. Fans have been aching to see this potential “ace in the making,” who put himself in the conversation for a promotion as far back as spring training. But now, there’s a more obvious need in the Marlins rotation because of injuries to José Ureña and Caleb Smith (potentially season-ending lat strain).
In 14 starts for the New Orleans Baby Cakes, Alcántara has a 3.71 ERA with 64 strikeouts through 85 innings. Despite the relative success, he has not even scratched the surface of what he could ultimately become. With a fastball that has topped out at 101 mph, a good slider and a developing changeup, Sandy has the potential to be a bonafide ace.
So why make Alcántara wait until the middle of the season?
Jeter’s explanation was vague (as expected). But it’s common practice for teams to coordinate high-profile debuts with financial incentives. In Alcántara’s case, he will be limited to 94 days of major league service in 2018 on top of the 31 days accumulated last summer. The total of 125 likely leaves him on the wrong side of the “Super Two” cut-off; instead of gaining arbitration eligibility after his second full MLB season (projected to be 2020), he would be playing for a much lower salary and only go through arbitration three total times (instead of four).
It is going to be a very exciting weekend for Marlins fans, don’t forget to tune in.
Thank you for reading, until next time!