A year can make a significant difference. Just ask the Miami Marlins and Sandy Alcantara.
The Marlins’ ace had been the toast of baseball at the end of the 2022 season. He had won his first Cy Young award, finished tenth in the NL MVP balloting, and had been named to the All Star Game for the second time. His 2.28 ERA and 0.980 WHiP over his major league leading 228.2 innings, while striking out 207 batters with just 50 walks, were truly impressive. However, his six complete games, more than any other team in the majors last season, grabbed the most attention.
Sandy Alcantara may be victim of 2022 workload with Miami Marlins
This year has been completely different. Alcantara has not been his dominant self, struggling with inconsistency as he has actually been below average in 2023. In fact, with the four runs he allowed on Sunday, Alcantara has allowed more earned runs already this season (59) than he had all of last year (58) in fewer than half the innings.
It should not be much of a surprise that Alcantara took a step backwards. Regression was likely after his dominant showing in 2022, especially after his workload last season. However, any regression was expected to result in Alcantara returning to his previous form, where he typically posted an ERA in the low 3.00 range.
The metrics say that Alcantara should be fine. His 3.70 FIP is right in line with his career numbers. He is still generating grounders at an elite rate. His .296 batting average on balls in play against is high by his standards, but it is exactly at league average. Alcantara’s performance should turn around based off of those numbers.
But his workload last year appears to be taking a toll. Alcantara’s 92 MPH changeup is fun to watch when it is working, but he has also been leaving it in the middle of the plate too often. He is not commanding his pitches the way he was last year. Those issues could be a significant problem for the Marlins as they look to hold on to a playoff spot.
Sandy Alcantara has not been the pitcher he was in 2022. His incredible workload for the Miami Marlins that year may be why.