The Miami Marlins‘ duo of Jose Fernandez and Henderson Alvarez may have been the most surprising pitchers in baseball a season ago. Both were relatively unknown on the major league level and both experienced a certain level of success. Fernandez deservedly received plenty of praise for his play, but Alvarez has been somewhat overlooked.
In just 17 starts for Miami in 2013, Alvarez went 5-6 with a 3.59 ERA. Those are pretty solid numbers for a first time starter in the major leagues. Alvarez also ended the season in about the best way possible by tossing a no-hitter against the Tigers. He will look to build upon that performance moving into 2014.
2014 is going to be a really important year for Alvarez in terms of his entire career. He’s currently the team’s projected No. 3 starter out of spring training and playing that big of a role comes with pressure. As long as he performs how he should in spring training, he will have that spot and the pressure that comes with it.
One problem that Alvarez has is that he puts a lot of runners on base by way of walk. Those walk numbers will have to go down if he hopes to remain effective in the major leagues for long. Eventually all of those walks will catch up to him and his ERA could potentially skyrocket.
Nonetheless, the combination of two-seam fastball, slider and changeup that Alvarez has makes him a very hard pitcher to figure out. As long as two out of those three pitches are working for him on any given day, he’s going to give his team a chance to win.
This spring training for Alvarez is about proving that last season wasn’t a fluke. He has to show that he’s making progress and that the Marlins should pencil him into their long-term plans.