Marlins pleased with Alcantara's development

August 13th, 2018

ATLANTA -- When the Marlins optioned to Triple-A New Orleans recently, the staff stressed how it wanted to see the rookie right-hander attack more with his fastball and polish up his breaking pitches.

The message appears to have sunk in, as Alcantara threw six shutout innings in his first start back with the Baby Cakes, striking out six while walking two. 

If Alcantara keeps refining his command, it will only be a matter of time before he's a fixture in the Marlins' rotation.

"We're going to get a chance to see Sandy again, when the time comes," manager Don Mattingly said. "I think his development is so important to what we're doing. Not just him, but a lot of our guys, you want them to continue to get better. We know Sandy is a big part of where we're going."

Ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Marlins' No. 2 prospect, Alcantara has spent most of the season at New Orleans, where he's thrown 91 innings. The 22-year-old made one big league start, on June 29 against the Mets, but he went on the disabled list a few days later with a right axillary infection. He threw 11 1/3 innings during a rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Jupiter, before returning to New Orleans to work on his command.

Alcantara's injury actually has helped the organization manage his innings. Counting all levels this year, he's logged 102 1/3 innings in the Minor Leagues and five in the big leagues. So he should be good to pitch through September if he is gets called back up, which is expected.

Miami acquired Alcantara from the Cardinals in the trade last December. A year ago, when he was in St. Louis' system, Alcantara compiled 125 1/3 innings in the Minor Leagues and another 8 1/3 in the big leagues.

The only pitchers on the Marlins' big league roster with innings restrictions are lefty , and rookie right-handers and . Hernandez and Graves were Rule 5 Draft selections who made the leap to the big leagues from Class A ball a year ago.

, another rookie who is part of the big league rotation, also should be fine to make it through the rest of the season.

"Trevor was a full season last year, and Sandy was a full season," Mattingly said. "So he isn't on an innings limit. With Sandy, the little [injury] down time put him in good shape. I think he will be fine to go through the end of the year as we make our decisions on what we will do in September."

Another way the Marlins may manage innings for their rookies in September is by going with a six-man rotation once rosters expand.

"At that point, we can even go with a six-man rotation if we want to, and things like that," Mattingly said.

Worth noting

(right hip bone bruise) will begin his rehab assignment at Double-A Jacksonville on Tuesday. He will play center field and build back into playing shape.

• First base/outfielder (right wrist) will be at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex this week, facing live pitching and doing drills. Cooper is about a week behind Brinson in terms of his recovery.