The Mockingbird

Wasted Youth

with 2 comments

Screw the long rant. I’m going to distill it down to some bullets:

1) 22-year-olds who throw 96 mph are incredibly valuable.

2) Pitchers without an offspeed pitch cannot strike out big-league hitters.

3) Pitchers who cannot strike out big-league hitters generally do not last, and always have a maximum value of ‘mediocre’.

4) Henderson Alvarez could still add an offspeed pitch to his arsenal.

5) He is not going to do so in the majors.

It’s just painful watching him get to 0-2 and then try to overthrow or paint the corners because he doesn’t have any other options to punch a guy out. His GB% isn’t because he has league-leading sink on his pitches, it’s because when he needs a chase pitch, he throws his fastball at the very bottom of the zone instead. The league will adjust, it’s just a matter of time.

Henderson Alvarez is not and should not aspire to be Derek Lowe — he is a half-baked monster talent filling a hole capably well because the team is cheap and was desperate both last year and this one. It is not the right thing to do for his future, or the Blue Jays’. Yet another way that paying for filler pays off: the team would not be forced to Sniderize the best arms in the system in order to maintain respectability.


Written by halejon

June 30, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Posted in Seriousness

2 Responses

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  1. Couldn’t agree more. When Brandon Morrow was injured, I was hoping that this would create an opportunity for someone like Jesse Chavez to push Alvarez out of the rotation. Then two other pitchers got injured and if anything Henderson’s spot is cemented. By taking over for Drabek, Cecil is merely reclaiming the rotation spot that Drabek stole from him in the first place so you have to figure that barring catastrophic performance, he will stay in the rotation. That leaves Laffey and Villanueva (Chavez despite excellent peripherals has already lost his spot). For Alvarez to be booted out, both Laffey and Villanueva would have to be kept in the rotation when Morrow comes back. That seems extremely unlikely because even if both perform well, Villa probably returns to the bullpen. The only hope now is for Jamie Moyer to make the rotation after his Minor League audition (ugh) or for the team to acquire some genuine starting pitching (not necessarily front line pitching but something better than the rotting corpse of Jamie Moyer).

  2. Good point. I argued the same to Mike Wilner over twitter a week back but many fans don’t seem to agree. Alvarez is young and has an electric arm, but his secondary stuff is still below average.

    The only counter argument I can think of is that there’s no problem (except for the ugly results) with Alvarez working on his slider at the big league level against big league hitters under the tutelage of big league coaches. Fangraphs pitch F/X data suggests that he’s throwing more sliders this season than last, so at least the Jays seem comfortable with him developing his off-speed stuff, even if it comes at the expense of wins.


    July 4, 2012 at 10:27 am

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