Sandy’s Journey to the NL Cy Young

Every year, the Cy Young Awards are given to the best pitchers in the American League and National League, and this year, the National League’s winner looks like it’ll be the Miami Marlins’ Sandy Alcantara. He’s a 25-year-old pitcher whose meteoric rise this season has come as a welcome surprise for a struggling Marlins squad that’s spent the last few years trying to find a superstar since Giancarlo Stanton’s trade to the New York Yankees and Jose Fernandez’s tragic passing.

However, Alcantara’s rise to stardom hasn’t come quite the way baseball observers expected. Specifically, it’s come with FOUR complete games so far this season (it’s early August). For context’s sake, the rest of the MLB has thrown four complete games. Basically, Alcantara is not only the NL’s best pitcher, but he might also be the National League’s most durable.

Sandy Alcantara’s durability is not just impressive. It’s practically unheard of in today’s era of depending on your bullpen. Typically, pitchers don’t exceed seven innings pitched in a game because of durability concerns. However, Alcantara’s durability combined with his effectiveness on the mound means that, despite a high pitch count over a full nine innings, he manages to keep the per-inning pitch count to a reasonable amount. Alcantara manages to do this by routinely confusing opposing batters, since the release point of all of his pitches look virtually identical.

Another interesting and quite amazing fact is that Sandy Alcantara is all of 25 years old, which means that he’s taking over the league and dominating opposing hitters with only a restricted amount of prior experience. For contrast’s sake, the AL Cy Young frontrunner is future-Hall of Famer Justin Verlander, who at 39 years old has more experience than almost any other pitcher in the league. Both are amazing cases for different reasons, but Alcantara’s domination of the league midway through his 20s is nothing short of amazing.

Despite his overwhelming success this season, for which he’ll definitely get the recognition he deserves, Alcantara likely won’t enjoy the same amount of success. Don’t be too worried though, since he’ll still be an incredibly effective pitcher, as his career ERA is 3.09, but it’s almost guaranteed that he won’t be putting up a 1.88 ERA next season.

For right now though, let’s enjoy Sandy’s amazing season, but we also should temper our future expectations. Just because the man has one incredible season does not mean that there should be articles written about how he’s the next superstar pitcher to dominate the league for years to come. As good as he is, just remember: his name is Sandy ALCANTARA, not Sandy KOUFAX. He should not be subjected to the pressure of living up to the legacy of his first name, certainly not at 25. If he maintains his durability until his late-30s, however, like Justin Verlander, then we can have that conversation.

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