The 2022 regular season concluded Wednesday. While the Miami Marlins' 69-93 record isn’t much to reflect fondly on, Sandy Alcantara and the season he put forth on the mound is deserving of a deep dive.
sandy alcantara made this a special marlins season regardless of the record.— jeremy taché (@jeremytache) October 5, 2022
what a cool moment in between innings. pic.twitter.com/TupbQVZr1G
With baseball’s major award season set to commence in November, Alcantara is the odds-on favorite to take home the first NL Cy Young in the 30-season history of the franchise. But what made said season so special?
Without further hesitation, here’s 2022 Sandy Alcantara: By the Numbers.
The best place to start in discussing Alcantara’s season is the 228 2⁄3 innings he threw in 2022. His total paced all of Major League Baseball, with the next closest guy, Aaron Nola, being 23 2⁄3 innings behind him. The two time All-Star also became the first pitcher since 2019 Justin Verlander—who collected the AL Cy Young that season—to exceed 220 innings, while also making him the first Marlins pitcher since Dontrelle Willis (2005-2007) to pen consecutive 200-inning seasons.
Like the number beneath his surname on the back, Alcantara completed at least 7 innings in 22 of his 32 starts this season. No other MLB pitcher did so more than 15 times. Alcantara’s Marlins teammates combined for only 14 starts of 7-plus frames.
8 (pt. 1)
Since the start of the 21st century, only 8 individual seasons have seen a pitcher finish with an ERA ≤2.30 while facing ≥875 hitters. Alcantara’s 2.28/886 campaign made him the first hurler since 2015 Clayton Kershaw to accomplish this feat.
More specific than run prevention, Alcantara distinguished himself with his ability to keep balls from clearing the fence. This was the 52nd individual season since 2000 where a pitcher threw ≥225 innings while allowing fewer than 20 home runs. The most recent example before him was 2015 Jake Arrieta (another Cy Young recipient).
Touching more on the value he provides with regards to going deep into games, we see the 6 complete games Alcantara authored. That is more than any other team in 2022. Sandy became the first pitcher in 6 seasons (Chris Sale in 2016) to finish what he started so frequently.
Sandy Alcantara this season: 2.28 ERA, 2.99 FIP, 207 K, 6 CG in 228.2 IP pic.twitter.com/1DyUsPqWKI— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) October 1, 2022
For those not familiar with the stat Win Probability Added, as defined by MLB.com, it “quantifies the percent change in a team’s chances of winning from one event to the next.” (Fish Stripes used Win Probability Added to determine our Series MVP winners throughout the season.) Among all pitchers in 2022, Alcantara’s 5.5 WPA was tops, not just in the National League, but in all of baseball. The Dodgers’ Julio Urías, the lone suspected threat to challenge Alcantara’s bid for the NL Cy due largely to his league-leading 2.16 ERA (193 ERA+), finished tied with teammate Tony Gonsolin and St. Louis’ Ryan Helsley for 7th in the NL at 3.7.
8 (pt. 2)
Dude, sandy alcantara has like an 8 WAR, what are you talking about?— allphilly1111 (@allph_1111) October 4, 2022
In the 30 seasons of Miami Marlins baseball, no pitcher has ever wrapped up a season amassing 8 WAR, per Baseball-Reference. But as you might have guessed, that all changed with Sandy Alcantara in 2022. The collective season Alcantara put forth surpassed 1996 Kevin Brown, who finished at 7.9 rWAR, for the highest mark in franchise history, also edging out the 7.9 rWAR to earned Giancarlo Stanton NL MVP honors in 2017.
What do you think? Do these numbers validate the case for Sandy Alcantara potentially becoming the first Marlins pitcher to collect the Cy Young? What other numbers stand out to you when discussing the brilliance of his 2022?
Information from this piece is courtesy of Baseball-Reference and Stathead.