Of course, the first reaction was to be happy for Sandy Alcantara. He’s an MLB All-Star in his rookie season! The selection serves as some validation that the prospects compiled during this rebuild can be positive contributors at the highest level, and potentially sooner than anticipated. The Dominican right-hander figures to only get better from here.
But does Sandy deserve it?
The numbers suggest otherwise. Although the 23-year-old leads the Marlins in innings pitched and authored the club’s best individual performance of the season (a complete-game shutout of the Mets), it is an underwhelming All-Star case relative to his National League peers. Alcantara ranks tied for 30th among qualifiers with 1.0 fWAR, largely dragged down by a 15.9 K% (second-lowest in NL). You can point out that he induces plenty of weak contact, but even so, Miami’s defense has aided his run prevention. Also, we cannot deny the pitcher-friendly perks of calling Marlins Park your home venue.
Nonetheless, Alcantara ended up as one of the nine NL starting pitchers. Major League Baseball rules require at least one Marlin to be involved in the Midsummer Classic, as is the case for the other 29 MLB teams. Every year, that means superior players get excluded.
The policy is polarizing, according to results from this week’s national FanPulse question, with 54% approving of the current setup.
The 2019 Marlins roster has been lacking in star power—Alcantara is their All-Star rep because nobody was able to combine elite performance with durability.
However, standouts in the minor league system and highly touted amateurs who will be joining them soon have fans optimistic. At the approximate midpoint of the season, 86% of our Marlins survey-takers are showing confidence in the rebuild overall.
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