Sandy Alcantara pitched well enough this season to earn a promotion to the Majors. Back in the system, Thursday marked his best effort yet.
Miami's second-ranked prospect allowed one hit and two walks in six innings to lead Triple-A New Orleans to a 1-0 blanking of Iowa at the Shrine on Airline. He struck out six.
"All my pitches were working," Alcantara said. "My mentality was to attack the hitter and get him out as soon as I could."
Gameday box score
The 22-year-old struggled with command to start the game, walking leadoff hitter Chris Coghlan, uncorking a wild pitch and then issuing a one-out free pass to No. 24 Cubs prospect Mark Zagunis. But the right-hander struck out Ryan Court and got No. 28 Jason Vosler to fly out to center field to end the first inning.
Alcantara (6-3) said he made "a little adjustment" in the second. From there, he set down eight in a row, three on strikes, before Vosler singled with two outs in the fourth for the only hit against the starter. The Dominican Republic native retired the next seven, fanning Zagunis to punctuate his outing.
Acquired by the Marlins from the Cardinals in December as part of the four-player return for All-Star outfielder Marcell Ozuna, Alcantara became the system's top pitching prospect. He achieved that status with his plus-plus fastball, which has touched triple-digits, but he's also received above-average grades from MLB Pipeline on his slider and changeup.
"He's got a great arm," Derek Jeter, the Marlins chief executive officer, told MiLB.com in June. "We wanted to take our time with him, and give him an opportunity to continue to develop. The one thing we've said, the best players in this organization are going to get an opportunity to play. He's obviously one of our top prospects."
Alcantara said he was hoping to stay in the Majors and stay in the rotation long-term, but knew it was the organization's decision and he would just focus on where he was pitching -- meaning Triple-A -- for now.
"I just want to keep what I was doing tonight. I wouldn't change a thing," he said.
Alcantara posted a 5-3 record with a 3.71 ERA, a 1.27 WHIP, 64 strikeouts and 34 walks over 85 innings in 14 Pacific Coast League outings before his promotion to The Show.
Jose Quijada, Jumbo Diaz and Tyler Kinley combined for three scoreless innings in relief, with Kinley earning his sixth save after working around two hits in the ninth.
Veteran right-hander Luke Farrell (0-4) was almost as good for the I-Cubs, allowing a run on four hits in five frames.
The Baby Cakes' lone run came in the second when Tomas Telis doubled with one out, went to third on Chad Wallach's flyout to center and scored on a passed ball.