Monday Sep 25, 2023

 Polished splitter, more evolved ’20 wins’ Alcantara

The ’20 wins ace’ returned to Jamsil.

Raul Alcantara (31) was the ace of the Doosan Bears in 2020. He went 20-2 with a 2.54 earned run average and won the Golden Glove for pitching that year.

It wasn’t just a ‘big deal’. Alcantara, who played for KT Wiz in 2019, only had an ERA of 4.01 with 11 wins and 11 losses that year. He threw a fastball in the mid-150 km/h range, but there was no clear decision ball. 

However, Doosan paid attention to his potential. I believed that the spacious Jamsil Baseball Field would help Alcantara. After throwing a slider and changeup on a fastball and two-seam (two-seam fastball), he abandoned the two-seam and changeup after moving to Doosan and installed a splitter. He also had good results. The splitter has become his main weapon along with the slider (0.185 batting average, 0.269 batting average) with a batting average of 0.228 and a slugging percentage of 0.283.

Doosan pitching coach Jeong Jae-hoon, who helped Alcantara at the time, said, “I added pitches, but I was a player with good pitch and stamina since I was originally thrown at KT.” At the same time, Alcantara also pitched comfortably and achieved good results.”

After a great success in the KBO League, Alcantara headed to the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). Signed with the Hanshin Tigers, he pitched in 63 games (97 2/3 innings) over the past two years, recording 4-6 with 1 save and 25 holds with an ERA of 3.96. Unlike in the KBO league, where he was the starting ace, he was pushed into the bullpen. He didn’t do well in the bullpen either. In the end, in October, when Hanshin was in the middle of fall baseball, he returned to the United States alone and ended his two-year life in Japan.

Doosan expects that the Japanese league experience will help him. Coach Jung Jae-hoon said, “Alcantara could not play as a starter in NPB. NPB is a league where you can survive only when you have a good breaking ball.” He said, “As I experienced NPB, Alcantara’s splitter got better. When throwing a splitter in the KBO League, Alcantara’s arm swing was different from when throwing a fastball. “I was slower when I threw the splitter,” he said. “Now my arm swing is quicker even when I throw the splitter. Thanks to this, the splitter falls sharply. He was a slider and a player who threw very well.” 스포츠토토

According to NPB records site Baseball data, Alcantara hasn’t been as effective as a fastball in the past two years. During his two years, his fastball batting average was high at 0.289 (59 hits in 204 at-bats). His splitter was different. He was a splitter in 2021 (20.48% coverage rate) and had a hit rate of 0.135 (7 hits in 52 at-bats). In 2022, he continued his decent performance as a splitter (29.13% coverage rate) and a hit rate of 0.239 (11 hits in 46 at-bats).

Doosan failed to produce a single 10-win pitcher last year. Ariel Miranda, who was MVP (Most Valuable Player) in 2021, was kicked out early due to injury and sluggishness. Both pitchers, Robert Stark (9-10) and Choi Won-jun (8-13), had the same ERA of 3.60, but no luck followed. It is the first time in 14 years since 2008 that Doosan has not had a 10-win pitcher. If Alcantara, who has become more mature, returns as a 20-win pitcher, it will be heavenly.


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