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Trading for a Young Starter: Sandy Alcantara

With numerous starting rotation holes to fill and plenty of other teams eager to sign free agents, the Twins seem destined to at least test the waters of the trade market. While pitchers who are nearing free agency seem most likely to be dangled by noncompetitive teams, it might be prudent to make a move for a younger, high-upside starter with numerous years of team control left.
Image courtesy of © Joe Camporeale – USA TODAY Sports
Of course, most every team wants young, cheap, and talented pitching so obtaining such a starter is easier said than done. And while not expensive in actual dollars, a young, team-controlled starter would likely be costly in prospect capital. Fortunitely, Minnesota happens to be rich in prospects and there may be opportunities to “buy” a young starter without necessarily giving up an elite prospect.

The natural place to look for the coveted young starter would be in an organization that is unlikely to be competitive in the near future. Look no further than the Miami Marlins and Sandy Alcantara. The Marlins displayed a willingness to trade away talented young pitching at last season’s trade deadline when they shipped rookie pitcher Zac Gallen to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Plus, the Twins have experience in dealing with Miami’s front office with the Sergio Romo deadline trade.

Gallen was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Jazz Chisholm, a Double-A shortstop prospect whose stock was dropping due to inconsistency despite being a top-100 prospect. The trade was a headscratcher as Gallen, although unheralded as a prospect, was having a sensational rookie year (which continued with Arizona). This could work to Minnesota’s advantage as Miami seems to favor international bats (as they also received Lewin Diaz from the Twins in the Romo trade) and have displayed a willingness to part with young pitching (pitching prospect Chris Vallimont was included in the Romo trade) as they have little chance of being competitive in the near future.

Alcantara would be a cheap young piece the Twins could add to their rotation, which would not only potentially fill a rotation spot for years to come (he’s under team control for the next five seasons), but allow Minnesota to allocate its financial resources to signing additional free-agent pitching. Plus, there is a lot to like in Alcantara.

Alcantara throws both a four- and two-seam fastball along with a slider, changeup, and curve. He throws hard, averaging 95.6 on his four-seamer and 95.3 on his sinker, and would give pitching coach Wes Johnson plenty to work with. Alcantara showed the ability to go deep into games as he threw two complete-game shutouts and tallied 197.1 innings on the year. Also encouraging is the fact that he seemed to get better as the season progressed, pitching to a 2.78 ERA and allowing just a .595 OPS from August onward (74.1 innings).



The biggest thing holding Alcantara back has been his lack of strikeouts combined with spotty control. In the first half of 2019 his K-BB% was just 5.3 % but that did rise to 11.6% in the second half and was up to 15.2 % in September/October. He has the stuff to get more strikeouts and working with Wes Johnson could go a long way toward maximizing Alcantara’s potential.

The Twins have plenty of young international bats that may intrigue the Marlins, including Wander Javier, Gilberto Celestino, Yunior Severino, and Misael Urbina. Any of those young hitters alone are unlikely to be enough to acquire Alcantara, but including one of them in a package with another prospect or two in the 5 – 10 range might work.

Outside of the Marlins and Alcantara there are plenty of tanking teams that may be willing to part with young pitching and the Twins would be wise to do their due diligence. Filling the rotation will be neither cheap or easy but it is imperative that Minnesota be ready to explore every opportunity.

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37 Comments

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Buddy Holly
Nov 15 2019 09:09 PM

Good article about the kind of player the Twins need to deal for.Young player with potential. 

Good article about the kind of player the Twins need to deal for. Young player with potential.


Let’s be realistic. He is worth mid prospects at best. Not top 10 players in one of the deepest farm systems in the majors

 

Yeah let’s trade all of our studs for a below average player and give away all of our MLB studs for nothing. This site is a joke and working against the best interest of the Twins and Twins fans

I love this site.The writers have differing views on most subjects.Don't go away mad........

    • Minfidel, Sconnie, SF Twins Fan and 1 other like this
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sweetmusicviola16
Nov 15 2019 10:13 PM

 

Let’s be realistic. He is worth mid prospects at best. Not top 10 players in one of the deepest farm systems in the majors

No, Alcantrata is genuine. Young and talented. The FO needs to wisely move some of our prospects. There isn't room at the ML level for all of them. 

    • Danchat, In My La-Z-boy and Patrick Wozniak like this
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Patrick Wozniak
Nov 15 2019 11:49 PM

 

Sure but let’s at least get a fair price for our deep system. Give them mid range guys who would be top guys in their organization. No need to overpay just because an Td admin did an article. Guy is very average. We have a lot of them in our system. I wouldn’t mind him but no need to pay the farm for a guy that projects as a #4 starter

The Twins are free to pay whatever they would want, I was just making a loose estimation. I'm pretty sure Falvey and Lavine won't be calling me for advice anytime soon, so I think you're safe! For what it's worth I'm also not TD Admin, just a contributor. But yeah, I'm not at all an expert on trade costs and am generally protective of prospects, but I do think a young starter like Alcantara would be a wise investment.

    • Riverbrian, TopGunn#22, Kelly Vance and 7 others like this
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The Wise One
Nov 16 2019 12:47 AM

It is interesting that both Gallen and Alcantara were both in the Cardinal system. If either were going to be front of rotation pitchers, the Cards would not have traded both for Ozuna.. They may have traded the prospects at peak value. History has shown the Cardinals to be a much better judge of pitching talent than most. 

There arepeople who think that not getting a back of the rotation starter when they come available is a bad thing. It does promote discussion

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The Wise One
Nov 16 2019 12:57 AM

 

The Twins are free to pay whatever they would want, I was just making a loose estimation. I'm pretty sure Falvey and Lavine won't be calling me for advice anytime soon, so I think you're safe! For what it's worth I'm also not TD Admin, just a contributor. But yeah, I'm not at all an expert on trade costs and am generally protective of prospects, but I do think a young starter like Alcantara would be a wise investment.

for a back end starter Javier or Servino or Celestino and a couple of prospects out of Elizabethton or the GCL would be a better loose framework. Alcantar would have to improve a lot to be league average in K%

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Patrick Wozniak
Nov 16 2019 02:15 AM

 

for a back end starter Javier or Servino or Celestino and a couple of prospects out of Elizabethton or the GCL would be a better loose framework. Alcantar would have to improve a lot to be league average in K%

Javier is actually who I chose to headline the trade I am proposing for Alcantara in my Offseason blueprint - it will be up on Tuesday.

    • sweetmusicviola16 and In My La-Z-boy like this
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Richard Swerdlick
Nov 16 2019 06:06 AM
Interesting article. Can the Marlins really be so down on their chances that they will trade away most of their good pitching.If that is true, I wonder what Captain Jeter is smoking.
    • Doctor Wu likes this
This type of move (and a very good target) I would very much prefer over going after Hamels. The back end of your rotation should be players with upside.

Good OP!
    • Twins33, TopGunn#22, Danchat and 5 others like this
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sweetmusicviola16
Nov 16 2019 07:12 AM

 

Javier is actually who I chose to headline the trade I am proposing for Alcantara in my Offseason blueprint - it will be up on Tuesday.

Yes to this. A deal somewhere along the lines of Javier and Cellestino. 

 

I get that we don't want to give up the Kiriloff's and Larnach's for a Alcantara. But just once it'd be nice to get back a talented potential like this instead of just ending up releasing our prospects after they fizzle. Think Gonsalves. Alcantara has the physical talent to be really good. Whether he has the mental makeup is the question.

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jorgenswest
Nov 16 2019 08:00 AM
This trade intrigued me.

I think it is going to take Balazovic to headline the deal. I don’t know how reliable the trade simulator is at Baseball Trade Vaues but it took a package of Balazovic, Rooker and Severino to get the deal done.

It could be that the Marlins value Javier much higher than Baseball Trade Values.

This trade intrigued me.

I think it is going to take Balazovic to headline the deal. I don’t know how reliable the trade simulator is at Baseball Trade Vaues but it took a package of Balazovic, Rooker and Severino to get the deal done.

It could be that the Marlins value Javier much higher than Baseball Trade Values.


I wouldn’t trade Balazovic for him straight up
    • Twins33, SwainZag, TopGunn#22 and 6 others like this
Let’s be realistic here. Just because he’s young doesn’t mean he is going to project that well and he is having a lot of the same issues striking people out. I would say he is more of a regression candidate than a breakout candidate. Sandy’s ceiling is a #3 or #4 starter but more than likely will be sent to the bullpen. That’s worth prospects but certainly not worth anyone in the top 10 or even 20 for that matter given how deep and talented the Twins minors is
    • Dman likes this

 

Why was the post that was quoted here deleted? We can’t have opposing views here? God forbid someone on this site actually values their players for what their actual worth and doesn’t want to give away the farm for marginal talent

 

Moderator Note: Your posts was deleted by me along with an explanation that should be in your mailbox.

 

Your posts were deleted because you misunderstood what the writer suggested and then preceded to take a narrative that "You made up" to launch into a disrespectful personal attack which is not allowed as per the posting rules. 

 

I didn't delete the responses to your responses because it would have been too big of a torpedo through the thread and trying to avoid a torpedo through a thread is why we have our posting rules in place. 

 

If you'd like to discuss it further... Feel free to send me a personal message but please stop discussing moderation and stick to the subject at hand.  

    • Minfidel likes this

Obviously, it depends on the cost. His lack of control and low K-rate in the NL concerns me a lot. He was never seen as a top prospect - peaking at about 70 on top 100 lists. MLBpipeline, a year ago, wrote:
 

"Alcantara's control and command both leave much to be desired, but as he keeps adding velocity, he's still learning to harness his stuff. While pinpoint command won't be ever be necessary given his dynamic repertoire, he'll need to pitch down in the zone consistently to be effective as a starter. At the least, Alcantara has the weapons to become a dominant closer at the highest level."

 

On the plus side, he did throw nearly 200 innings last year and looks like his floor would still make him a valuable cog in a bullpen rotation. I'd be comfortable moving a package around Javier (although that might be selling low on him). I'm not sure what Miami needs/wants but the Twins have a lot of 45-50 FV talent in the system and it makes sense to move some now.

The Twins will have to make some deals this year. It can't be done through FA alone. 

 

Although, I wonder if the Marlins are sellers? 

 

They have been rumored to be considering Castellanos and Ozuna. They have young talent on the mound and if they are considering adding some higher end bats. That doesn't sound like a team looking to move Alcantara. 

 

 

    • Doctor Wu likes this
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ChrisKnutson
Nov 16 2019 09:57 AM

The Twins will have to make some deals this year. It can't be done through FA alone.

Although, I wonder if the Marlins are sellers?

They have been rumored to be considering Castellanos and Ozuna. They have young talent on the mound and if they are considering adding some higher end bats. That doesn't sound like a team looking to move Alcantara.

If the Marlins fail to sign either (which is likely), there’s atleast a possibility of them going down this route and I think the Twins are right team for them to pair up with given all the quality depth that’s present in the upper levels of our minor league system.

Like they’ve shown with the Gallen/Chisholm and Richards/Sanchez trades, it’s clear that they’re not afraid of giving up young ML talent (like Alcantara) if they believe it’s in the best interests of their future plans.

While I’m sure he wouldn’t be the centerpiece (either Larnach or Duran), I could see Miami having a lot of interest in Gordon. And since they’re in search of competent bats, Cave and Rooker could be targets as well.
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In My La-Z-boy
Nov 16 2019 10:01 AM

I have a great deal of confidence Falvey will get this offseason right. I like the type of thinking this post represents. Whether Alcantara is the guy or not, I do believe we'll see a mixture of moves, both signings and trades. I think we'll be bold. 

    • DocBauer likes this
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clutterheart
Nov 16 2019 10:06 AM
Good god man. Just because someone is young and in the leauge does not make them good.
His peripherals are bad and he would be a JAG on the AAAA shuttle for the twins.

Good god man. Just because someone is young and in the leauge does not make them good.
His peripherals are bad and he would be a JAG on the AAAA shuttle for the twins.


This is correct. Could see him develop as a bullpen guy in the future. But not someone you give top 20 prospects for

If he'd make the team I'm all for it. Based on the original post, I'm not sold he's an improvement or has that high of a ceiling.

 

That said, the arguments I'm reading here that say "trade our prospects for a prospect...because we have too many prospects..." has me scratching my head.

 

 

If the Marlins fail to sign either (which is likely), there’s atleast a possibility of them going down this route and I think the Twins are right team for them to pair up with given all the quality depth that’s present in the upper levels of our minor league system.

Like they’ve shown with the Gallen/Chisholm and Richards/Sanchez trades, it’s clear that they’re not afraid of giving up young ML talent (like Alcantara) if they believe it’s in the best interests of their future plans.

While I’m sure he wouldn’t be the centerpiece (either Larnach or Duran), I could see Miami having a lot of interest in Gordon. And since they’re in search of competent bats, Cave and Rooker could be targets as well.

 

Anything is possible. Your post is just as legit as mine. 

 

I was shocked to see Syndergaard on the trading block followed by an acquisition of Stroman by the Mets. Things like that demonstrate that the road to be traveled is not always clear and defined. 

 

If I was the GM of the Marlins, I wouldn't be trying to acquire expensive FA bats yet (like is being rumored) but I'm not sure that I would give up young pitching yet either because those young pitchers should have helium to inflate to higher value or at least still be in place when it is time to acquire expensive FA bats. 

 

In other words... If I was to part with one of my young pitchers... the return would have to be high enough to be worth the possible deviation in the plan. 

 

 

Just being honest, I know nothing about the Marlins. I just don't pay attention to them. So I know pretty much nothing about Alcantara either. But this is the kind of thinking they should be employing. While peripherals may be poor, he showed improvement, is young, controllable and high velocity is always good. Im betting Johnson would love to work with all of that. But there remains real questions here. I'm thinking 1 top 10 guy and 1 in the second 10 and maybe a toss in. Fair? Too high?
    • Doctor Wu, sweetmusicviola16 and In My La-Z-boy like this
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sweetmusicviola16
Nov 16 2019 12:57 PM

 

Just being honest, I know nothing about the Marlins. I just don't pay attention to them. So I know pretty much nothing about Alcantara either. But this is the kind of thinking they should be employing. While peripherals may be poor, he showed improvement, is young, controllable and high velocity is always good. Im betting Johnson would love to work with all of that. But there remains real questions here. I'm thinking 1 top 10 guy and 1 in the second 10 and maybe a toss in. Fair? Too high?

Sounds about right to me. Javier and Cellestino or maybe Alcala.

 

We have a strong farm. But we also have a team that is close to WS competitive. We have a young team. I'd just like to see us not waste the strength of the farm by allowing them to be mired in the minors. Now is the time to utilize to add some of the pieces on the ML level that we need. I see what you are describing in Alcantrara and if you get him w/o giving up major pieces then why not? If not him then who?

    • brvama, Battle ur tail off and In My La-Z-boy like this