Sunday, February 11, 2018

Under the Radar: Henderson Alvarez

An underrated option for the Yankees as an additional starter can be had on a minimum salary or even a minor league contract. Henderson Alvarez was once a highly touted prospect with the Miami Marlins and was looked at as the 2nd part of a front of the rotation combo with Jose Fernandez. Alvarez threw a no hitter in 2014 but has recently struggled with elbow injuries since. There is still promise with the 27 year old even though he has struggled to regain his 2014 form. Alvarez had a 5.34 strikeout rate in 2014 and had 53.8% ground ball percentage which was impressive for someone that played behind a weak defensive team.
Alvarez is slowly regaining his velocity as it has almost ticked up a full mph from 90.7 to 91.4 which is only around 2 mph slower than his career high average of 93.5 mph. Alvarez's 4 pitch mix is fastball and changeup heavy but if a team can get him to use his slider more they would reap the benefits instantly.

Alvarez's across body motion is similar to Jake Arrieta's while he was in Baltimore. Upon his arrival in Chicago, Arrieta began to exaggerate his cross body motion which led to a Cy Young season. If Alvarez can move closer to the 1st base side of the rubber and exaggerate his cross body throwing action it could create more deception and possibly a greater break on his slider. This would also open the door for an effective two seam fastball or an increased use of a changeup that would break away from the left handed hitter and break into the right handed hitter's fists.

Henderson Alvarez could see a career revival with the proper tutelage and in the proper situation that would allow him to be most effective. The American League East, though loaded with talented power hitters, is a good match because of his break from the norm of high velocity pitchers in the division. Alvarez could become a quality bottom of the rotation starter for a cheap price this offseason.

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