Marlins’ Sandy Alcantara rides majors-best 228.2 innings pitched to NL Cy Young Award

It wasn’t a query of whether or not Sandy Alcantara would win the Cy Young Award, simply one in all whether or not he would turn into the primary unanimous winner within the National League since Clayton Kershaw in 2014.

Indeed, the Miami Marlins’ 27-year-old right-hander swept all 30 first-place votes to beat out Braves’ lefty Max Fried and Dodgers’ southpaw Julio Urias to turn into the primary Cy Young winner in Marlins historical past.

In this age of five-inning starters, Alcantara stood out as a unicorn: He pitched 228.2 innings, 23.2 greater than another pitcher within the majors, and essentially the most innings since David Price threw 230 in 2016. He threw six full video games – greater than another staff. He pitched at the least eight innings in 14 of his 32 begins, essentially the most such video games since 2014. His 8.0 WAR simply topped Aaron Nola’s 6.0 as the very best within the NL and ranked as the very best in Marlins historical past, forward of Kevin Brown’s 7.9 in 1996 .

“I’m very pleased with the kind of season I used to be ready to have this season,” Alcantara mentioned in a video launched when he received the Players Choice Award because the excellent NL pitcher. “It’s like I’ve at all times informed the media: My mentality is to be a lion on the mound, end all my begins.”

Here’s one other means to view Alcantara’s award: He had 16 begins of greater than seven innings once you add in his two 7.2-inning outings. Fried and Urias mixed for simply two outings of greater than seven innings. It wasn’t simply his workhorse capacity that made Alcantara the Cy Young winner, nonetheless. His 2.28 ERA ranked second within the NL behind Urias’ 2.16 and he held batters to a .212 common with a number of the most electrical stuff within the majors.

“He’s throwing 100-plus miles per hour and he is bought motion on that fastball,” Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt mentioned.

Indeed, Alcantara averaged just below 98 mph together with his fastball (he throws each a four-seamer and sinker), however his recreation plan is somewhat totally different from numerous trendy pitchers. He induces numerous mushy contact fairly than simply racking up strikeouts – and thus avoids the excessive pitch counts that end result from numerous deep counts. As a end result, he led all starters in averaging simply 14.2 pitches per inning, permitting him to go deep into video games. He nonetheless managed 207 strikeouts, together with a season-high 14 in an eight-inning win over the Braves on May 28. “Sometimes with Sandy it appears like pitch and catch,” then-Marlins supervisor Don Mattingly mentioned after that dominating victory.

Originally signed by the Cardinals out of the Dominican Republic, the Marlins acquired Alcantara after the 2017 season in a commerce that despatched Marcell Ozuna to St. Louis. Alcantara made the All-Star staff in 2019, his first full season within the majors, when he completed with a 3.88 ERA, after which had an enormous breakout in 2021, when he went 9-15 with a 3.19 ERA in 205 innings.

An improved changeup took him to one other degree this season, as batters hit simply .145 towards him with no house runs in 248 at-bats. It’s an influence change that averaged 91.8 mph – sure, a 92-mph changeup. According to Statcast metrics, his changeup saved 25 runs, essentially the most beneficial changeup within the recreation in 2022.

Maybe the spotlight of Alcantara’s season wasn’t one in all his seven scoreless outings, however a 4-3 victory over the Cardinals on June 29. Leading 4-3 with runners at first and second and one out within the ninth and Alcantara at 115 pitches , Mattingly got here out to apparently take away him from the sport. Alcantara talked himself into staying in and two pitches later induced a double play to finish it.

“When he got here to me, I mentioned, ‘I bought it. I bought it.’ I believe he has an excessive amount of confidence in me to end the sport,” Alcantara mentioned after that win. “I haven’t got to fear when I’ve males on base. I do know I can throw a strike and get a double play.”

“He mentioned he had it and he did,” Mattingly mentioned. “I wasn’t going to promise him two hitters however I gave him that one. He’s fairly particular.”

Special sufficient that the extension the Marlins signed him to final November that runs by means of 2027 now appears like a discount. With the Marlins now having a Cy Young winner, the one franchises with out one are the Texas Rangers and Colorado Rockies.

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