With the 2018 season coming to a close, we are providing year-end grades to each Detroit Tigers player who donned the Olde English D in 2018.
The Detroit Tigers completed the first year of what looks to be a multi-year rebuilding process. While the team was hard to watch at times, there is still plenty to evaluate from this season as we look ahead to the next few years.
As with any team, there were a lot of excellent performances, surprise performances, and of course disappointing performances. Here at Motor City Bengals, we are going to be evaluating each player who suited up for the Detroit Tigers this season. We will analyze how they performed, what their future holds in the Motor City, and we will provide them a grade.
Note: the grade will be relative to what was expected of them. So a player who performed well above expectations may earn a B or an A, even if their actual season numbers are not that elite. If you disagree, feel free to drop us a comment. We would love to have discussions about these!
We have discussed a fair number of Detroit’s bullpen pieces, including Buck Farmer (here) Warwick Saupold (here) Blaine Hardy (here) and Artie Lewicki (here). Now, we turn our attention to a solid September bullpen arm, who has a good chance of starting 2019 in Detroit’s pen.
Alcantara was originally acquired from the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for Cameron Maybin early in the offseason after the 2016 season. He spent 2017 split between AA and AAA, also pitching seven unremarkable innings with Detroit.
He came into 2018 expecting to spend the majority of the season at Triple-A, perhaps earning a call-up near the end of the season. That is exactly what transpired, as Alcantara tossed 51.1 innings with Toledo, racking up a 5-2 record, three saves, a 2.81 ERA and a 8.24 K/9.
He made his way to the big leagues, and has looked better than expected. He threw 30 innings with the Tigers, putting up a 2.40 ERA, a 1.03 WHIP and a very nice 1.80 BB/9. He had luck on his side, as his 4.53 FIP, 3.81 SIERA and .230 BABIP indicate.
However, it’s nice to see the Tigers have success with a young bullpen arm, and Alcantara should get every opportunity to start 2019 in Detroit’s bullpen. If he can continue to limit walks and keep the ball in the yard (1.50 HR/9 is a concern) then he should carve out a nice career as a middle reliever, with a potential 7th or 8th inning role down the line.
Alcantara did more or less what was expected of him. His big league performance was slightly better than advertised, but advanced metrics say that was a little lucky as well. Still, it was nice to see him have some success down the line, which may have helped guarantee him a spot on the opening day roster in 2019.