Alcantara has reigning Cy Young winner's vote

Marlins ace logs 6th CG, becomes 1st in franchise history with consecutive 200-K seasons

October 1st, 2022

MILWAUKEE -- Reigning National League Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes doesn’t have a vote when it comes to postseason awards, but if he did, Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara would be atop his ballot.

“Yeah, he’d be the Cy Young for me this year,” Burnes said. “What he’s done as far as going deep into games, doing it start in and start out, he doesn’t have many blow-up outings. He goes out there and gives them seven, eight or nine innings, and gives them a chance to win.

“Obviously, they’re not the best baseball team this year, which makes it even tougher to go out there and do what he’s doing, so yeah, he would be my Cy Young this year."

Both Alcantara and Burnes went eight innings in a classic pitchers' duel on Friday night, but Miami stranded the bases loaded in the ninth in a 1-0 loss to Milwaukee at American Family Field.

Alcantara, who recorded his Major League-leading sixth complete game, also became the first pitcher in franchise history to log consecutive 200-strikeout seasons with a K of Christian Yelich to open the first.

Alcantara and Burnes traded zeros until the sixth. Garrett Mitchell led off the Brewers’ half of the frame with a single and stole a base – the second of the game and 24th of the season against Alcantara. Only Noah Syndergaard has allowed more (30) in the Majors. Willy Adames then followed with a single through the hole to put runners at the corners and set up Rowdy Tellez’s sacrifice fly to center.

“I think the running game is something that you hope he continues to evolve with everything that's going to happen next year with the rule changes,” manager Don Mattingly said. “It's going to be a little different. He's not a guy that's really quick to the plate. It's hard for him to be quick. So we'll see what happens. 

“There's going to be an evolution with the running game next year, I think. That's with all pitchers -- so not just Sandy -- but I think that's the one area, just the little small intricacies of the game, that if it is a 1-1 game or a 1-0 game -- the kind of games he pitches -- those little things have a chance to make a difference.”

A day prior, batterymate Jacob Stallings took a few moments to consider what he found most impressive about Alcantara, then settled on the righty’s ability to get stronger as the game goes on. Friday was the perfect example, as Alcantara hit 100 mph on his 100th and final pitch to strike out Adames. 

More remarkable, Alcantara relied heavily on a two-pitch mix of his changeup (43%) and four-seamer (32%). He threw a season-low six sliders, mainly because of how it looked in the pregame bullpen.

Though it makes more sense to compare 2022 pitcher stats, here’s a look at how Burnes’ 2021 Cy Young-winning campaign compares to frontrunner Alcantara’s ‘22 season.

Burnes in 2021
11-5 record 
2.43 ERA (first) 
0.94 WHIP (second)
5.6 bWAR (sixth)
28 starts (23rd)
167 IP (19th)
0 complete games
172 ERA+ (first)
234 K (third)
1.63 FIP (first) 
0.4 HR/9 (first) 
12.6 K/9 (first)
6.88 SO/W (first)

Alcantara in 2022
14-9 record
2.29 ERA (second)
0.98 WHIP (fourth)
7.4 bWAR (first entering Friday)
32 starts (first)
228 2/3 IP (first)
6 complete games (first)
173 ERA+ (second entering Friday)
207 K (fourth)
2.99 FIP (sixth)
0.63 HR/9 (fifth)
8.15 K/9 (13th)
4.14 SO/W (eighth)

Those numbers, however, don’t provide historical context on what Alcantara has been able to accomplish this season:

• First time anyone has reached 227-plus innings since 2016: David Price (230), Max Scherzer (228 1/3) and Justin Verlander (227 2/3). Scherzer won the award that year.

• First pitcher with 22-plus starts of at least seven frames since Chris Sale (23) in 2016.

• First pitcher with six complete games since Sale in 2016.

• Cardinals righty Miles Mikolas (199 1/3) is 29 innings behind Alcantara (228 2/3). The last time a season ended with such a large gap between first and second was in 1979, when Phil Niekro was 49 2/3 frames above Dennis Martinez/J.R. Richard.

But will Alcantara make his MLB-leading 33rd start on Wednesday to close out the Marlins’ season against the Braves? 

“It's something we want to talk about, because there is some concern with the amount of volume that he's thrown this year and things like that,” Mattingly said.

Added Alcantara: “Why not? If they say I'm not going to start the game, I'm going to feel so bad, because I want to finish strong, finish all my starts. I want to pitch. Let's see what they say.”