It’s Sandy time.
Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter told reporters prior to Wednesday’s game that highly-touted pitching prospect Sandy Alcantara will be called up from the minors to make his debut with the club on Friday at home against the New York Mets.
Alcantara, 22, was acquired by the Marlins as part of their trade this past December with the St. Louis Cardinals for two-time All-Star outfielder Marcell Ozuna.
Alcantara, who would become the first pitching prospect from the group the Marlins acquired in the trades for Ozuna, Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Dee Gordon to be called up, would oppose Mets ace Jacob deGrom in Friday’s start.
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"Our prospects have done a great job,” Jeter said. “We’re looking forward to getting a close look at [Sandy]. You want to have patience with guys, but they have been developing very quickly which is fun for us to see.”
Alcantara, ranked the club’s No. 2 prospect by MLB.com and 93rd in baseball overall, has made 14 starts at Triple A New Orleans this year going 5-3 with a 3.71 ERA in 85 innings pitched. Alcantara has 64 strikeouts and 34 walks and opponents are hitting .238 against him.
The Marlins reiterated their intentions recently to remain patient in terms of developing their top prospects such as Alcantara.
Jeter said Alcantara has earned this opportunity.
"He’s got a great arm and we wanted to take our time with him and allow him to continue to develop,” Jeter said. “But one thing we said is that the best players in this organization are going to get the opportunity to play. He’s obviously one of our top prospects. For reasons we know, he’ll get that opportunity on Friday.”
The move comes in the wake of Caleb Smith suffering a grade 3 lat strain in his left shoulder that will likely sideline him for the remainder of the season, and Jose Urena going on the disabled list with a right shoulder impingement.
Alcantara pitched in eight games (8 1/3 innings) out of the bullpen at the major-league level last season with the Cardinals and compiled a 4.32 ERA with 10 strikeouts and six walks.
Alcantara started two games in spring training in March and appeared in five for the Marlins pitching 16 innings and compiling a 3.38 ERA with 11 strikeouts, six walks, six earned runs and three home runs allowed.
Alcantara (6-4, 170) has been regarded for his consistent high-90s fastball, but has shown the ability to mix in an above average slider and changeup among his pitching arsenal.
"Just the chance to see him pitch,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “He’s a good looking kid, smart, great body and now we get a chance to see him continue his development.”
MORE PROSPECTS ON WAY?
While not officially announced yet, Alcantara may not be the only promising pitching prospect the Marlins will call up to pitch this weekend.
Right-hander Pablo Lopez, the team’s No. 21 prospect per MLBPipeline.com, is one of the potential options being considered to start on Saturday according to Mattingly. Lopez, who is expected to be called up from Triple A as well, impressed during his eight starts at Double A Jacksonville by compiling a 0.62 ERA in 43 2/3 innings with 51 strikeouts and eight walks.
This prompted the Marlins to promote him to Triple A New Orleans where he’s made four starts in recent weeks and gone 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP in 18 2/3 innings. Lopez had 15 strikeouts and four walks, and gave up three home runs and seven earned runs during that stretch.
▪ Mattingly said Dan Straily would pitch Sunday when he finishes serving his five-game suspension.
▪ Mattingly also said Smith has yet to elect whether or not to undergo surgery on his shoulder, which would indeed end his 2018 season.
▪ J.T. Realmuto was scratched from Wednesday's lineup for the third consecutive game as he continues to deal with a sore wrist. Realmuto remains day-to-day.
The Marlins announced that D.J. Svihlik has been named the club’s Director of Amateur Scouting. Svihlik, who is in his first season with the Marlins, was serving as an advisor to the Baseball Operations department last November.
Svihlik served as an area scout and national crosschecker for the New York Yankees for 14 years evaluating amateur talent for a farm system that ranked No. 2 by Baseball America at the time of his departure. He was also a hitting coach and recruiting coordinator for Vanderbilt University prior to the Marlins hiring him.
Wednesday: Miami Marlins LHP Wei-Yin Chen (2-4, 6.70) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks LHP Patrick Corbin (6-3, 3.24), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
Thursday: Marlins RHP Trevor Richards (2-4, 4.91) vs. Diamondbacks RHP Zack Greinke (7-5, 3.66), 12:10 p.m., Marlins Park.