"Mario looks good. I had him last year and [he's] a great kid, works hard," Red Sox manager George Lombard said. "He's throwing the ball well. He's made some good adjustments, especially since the first start.
"I'm working hard in my mechanics and other things in my arm form," Alcantara expressed. "I'm throwing differently now because my release point is different."
Like many athletes playing this game, the Dominican Republic-born pitcher had to overcome a hitch in his fundamentals, which forced him to reevaluate his arm motion.
"Mario picked up a little glitch in his delivery sometime during Extended Spring [Training] and his arm swing got a little out of kilter," pitching coach Goose Gregson noted.
"He started reaching straight back, and one thing led to another and a little thing turned into a bigger thing and as a result, he lost his confidence a little bit out there. He wasn't the same Mario that we'd seen last year and earlier."
Gregson didn't stop short in detailing Alcantara's road back to the rubber.
"He worked really, really hard – he'd stand in front of a mirror and he just really came out every day and wanted to get it fixed.
"It took a little while, but it was all in his arm swing. He had started tinkering with it and just couldn't find his normal release point.
"Once he found that, he's starting to get back to the guy that we know is capable of being a very good pitcher."
"This kid's got a chance to be a very, very big and strong workhorse-type pitcher," Gregson asserted.
"He's going to be a very big, very strong kid, and he works. He works as hard or harder than any pitcher we have on this staff."
"I'm working hard on my release point and now it's very good because I'm throwing the ball in front of me," Alcantara said.
"I'm working hard every day; I'm working to keep my ball down. I'm working on my arm [swing], on my changeup and other things with my body."
"We always joke around [that] there are no hidden ball tricks in this game," Lombard said, "because it's all [about] taking ground balls, taking batting practice, throwing, and for pitchers, being able to control your body.
"I can see it in him; he's got good stuff, a good fastball. He's got to get better with his off-speed pitches, and he's got to learn to command his fastball."
"My fastball is the pitch that I'm most comfortable with," Alcantara noted.
"I've been working on my changeup, and it's going good, but I need more confidence in it. My curveball is nice, but I'm using more fastballs and changeups."
The GCL Red Sox manager sees the highest potential in Alcantara, stressing, "He's gonna throw the ball as fast as the guys in the Major Leagues, but it's being able to control that will make him special."
"At this level of these kids' progression, first and foremost, we stress fastball command and the other pitches will come," Gregson said.
"Now he's at that point where because he has the confidence in throwing his fastball for a strike, he can come back and start working on his secondary pitches because now he knows that he'll get back into the count with his fastball."
"It's our job to be able to get the ability out the players," Lombard said.
"A scout sees something in them and the potential to play in the big leagues. They just have to learn to get stronger, control their fastball, control their pitches and learn to control the running game."
In 2009, Mario Alcantara was signed out of Santo Domingo, after which he brought his high ceiling to the Gulf Coast League in 2010 for a 4.55 ERA. In 2011, he tallied 24 strikeouts in 51.7 innings pitched during his second season in southwest Florida.
Regarding his feelings as once a young player out of the Dominican Republic, Alcantara explained, "I feel good because I signed very young.
"It's normal, good normal, in [the Dominican Republic] for a young guy to sign [in professional baseball], so I was very happy."
His pitching coach can recall a younger, more inexperienced Alcantara. "I've been around Mario since he was 16 years old when we signed him," Gregson said.
"He has matured so greatly from the time we first signed him, made the transition really well over here from the Dominican, which is a tough transition for a lot of these young kids, but he made the transition extremely well.
"It was when he got into that little funk and kind of lost his delivery that he lost his confidence, and he was searching out there. He wasn't the same confident, mature kid he had become.
"Now that he's found his deliver and release point, he's having fun again. He's smiling again, and he's the same guy that I knew when we first signed him, so he's made tremendous strides."
FORT MYERS, FL – Standing atop the mound at 6'2'' and 175 pounds, pitcher Mario Alcantara is a workhorse for the GCL Red Sox in the starting rotation. Alcantara has four outings under his belt and continues to build confidence, despite a shaky outing on Wednesday, and the right-hander's work ethic is paying dividends.
Mario Alcantara, like most young pitchers, has been battling delivery issues.