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Sandy Alcantara

Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara deserves Cy Young

Sandy Alcantara could become first Dominican to win the NL Cy Young in 25 years

Sandy Alcantara shied away from discussing the Cy Young Award most of the season. The Miami Marlins’ ace righthander would answer questions about the prestigious award. He refused to act as though he considered himself the favorite, though. 

Alcantara is one of the few folks who haven’t declared the Marlins’ 6-foot-5, 210-pounder the favorite to win the 2022 National League Cy Young Award tonight. That’s not to say he isn’t prepared to become the first Latin American to win the NL Cy Young in 25 years.

Alcantara, 27, and his wife Yorleny and son Yorlin will play host to a small gathering at their South Florida to watch the MLB Network announcement. He’ll be joined by his father Confesor Alcantara, brother Rafelin and his longtime agent Adriel Reyes.

Sandy Alcantara
Sandy Alcantara poses for a photo during Photo Day at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium on Feb. 19, 2020 in Jupiter, Fla. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

Marlins teammates Pablo Lopez, Miguel Rojas and Elieser Hernandez also have RSVP’d. Phenom Eury Perez, the ninth best prospect in baseball, will also be there with his mentor.

‘A really humble guy’

“Sandy is a really humble guy,” Reyes said. “A lot of people at the end of the season would ask him questions about potentially being the Cy Young winner. He would brush it off. In the last week of the season they kind of cracked him open. He’s really excited. He thinks he deserves it.”

Sandy Alcantara definitely deserves the NL Cy Young Award. He was 14-9 with a 2.28 ERA and 207 strikeouts in 228 ⅔ innings. He was the biggest workhorse in Major League Baseball this season, by a lot.

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AL MVP favorite Aaron Judge and Shohei Ohtani were the only players with higher bWAR than Alcantara’s 8.0 this year. Alcantara led all pitchers in pitcher’s WAR. By comparison, AL Cy Young favorite Justin Verlander had a 5.9 bWAR, which was tied for the sixth best bWAR among pitchers. 

Dodgers lefthander Julio Urias (17-7, 2.25 ERA) and Braves lefthander Max Fried (14-7, 2.48 ERA) are the other two NL Cy Young finalists. Fried had 170 strikeouts over 185 ⅓ innings. Urias threw only 175 innings, striking out 166.

Old school workhorse

Sandy Alcantara had the fifth best ERA in the majors. The native of Azua, Dominican Republic, led the majors in innings pitched and complete games (six). He threw 23 2⁄3 more innings than Phillies righthander Aaron Nolan, who was second in innings pitched.

Alcantara also had twice as many complete games as the Astros’ Framber Valdez, who finished second in complete games in the majors.

“He feels he’s had one of the best seasons,” Reyes said of Alcantara. “He’s excited to bring that award back home to the Dominican and continue to throw his flag on his back and represent his country.”

If he wins the Cy Young Award, he’ll be the eighth native of Latin America to win the award and the third from the Dominican Republic. Cuban Mike Cuellar became the first native of Latin America to win a Cy Young in 1969 with the Baltimore Orioles.

Following Pedro Martinez

Pedro Martinez became the first Dominican Republic native to win a Cy Young Award in 1997 with the Montreal Expos. The Hall of Famer won two more Cy Youngs in the AL with the Red Sox in 1999 and 2000. Bartolo Colon became the second Dominican Cy Young winner in 2005.

Pedro Martinez
This 12 December 1997 file photo shows Boston Red Sox ace pitcher Pedro Martinez addressing a press conference in Boston after the club signed him for a record $75 million, six-year contract. The Dominican right-hander won the 1999 American League Cy Young Award to become the third pitcher in history to win a Cy Young in both American and National Leagues. Martinez won the prestigious award in 1997 with the Montreal Expos before being traded to the Red Sox. (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

Although six AL Cy Young Awards have been won by Latin Americans since 1999, no Latin American has won the NL Cy Young since 1997. Moreover, no Latin American has won a Cy Young in either league since Venezuela’s Felix Hernandez in 2010.

“It’s going to be like a great opportunity for me, for my team, for my family, for my country because I’m here to represent my country and my family,” Alcantara said earlier in the year. “Yeah, it’s been a long time since a Latin guy won the Cy Young.”

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