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Blue Jays call up 21-year-old prospect Henderson Alvarez from Double-A

Aug 9, 2011, 3:10 PM EDT

Blue Jays catcher Molina talks with pitcher Alvarez during their Grapefruit League baseball game in Lakeland Reuters

Henderson Alvarez began this season at Single-A, but 16 starts later the 21-year-old right-hander is in the majors after the Blue Jays called him up today.

Alvarez is stepping into the rotation spot that belonged to Carlos Villanueva, who’s on the disabled list with a strained forearm, and will make his big-league debut tomorrow at home against the A’s.

That’s a favorable first matchup for Alvarez, who had a 2.86 ERA and 66/17 K/BB ratio in 88 innings at Double-A.

Those are strong overall numbers and reports of his fastball hitting the upper-90s consistently speak well of his raw stuff, but his strikeout rate is nothing special and Alvarez had mediocre numbers at Single-A last season. Expect some growing pains initially.

  1. proudlycanadian - Aug 9, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    Obviously, I will be watching this game with interest. The youngster seems to have improved a lot so far this year.

    • proudlycanadian - Aug 9, 2011 at 3:22 PM

      One very positive thing that will be going for him in his first start is that Molina will be catching. Molina is great with young pitchers.

      • proudlycanadian - Aug 9, 2011 at 4:47 PM

        Alvarez was signed as a 16 year old in 2006. He is still quite young. His fastball routinely exceeds 96 MPH and he has been clocked as high as 101 MPH. His second pitch is a “plus” changeup. His slider is a “work in progress”. In other words ihis slider is not yet very good.

  2. FC - Aug 9, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    We should organize an HBT Reader outing to Rogers Centre one of these days. Lots of interesting new faces in Toronto this summer.

    • cur68 - Aug 9, 2011 at 3:36 PM

      Let me know on that FC. I’d go, thesis pending.

      Can’t help but think this kid is gonna get shelled. Maybe Molina can work a miracle with him (after all he is a Molina and, thus, family, if only in my mind: Cur “El Gaucho” Molina68 never forgets family!) but I think its a big ask. 2 worse case scenarios here; he gets rocked and it ruins his confidence or he’s great and it goes to his head. Best case realistically; he’s ok, gets a win with some struggle, and learns from Molina and the other guys in the rotation. If its the last scenario then the Lords of Maple Earth have a decent rotation in the makings for next season.

  3. Joe - Aug 9, 2011 at 3:50 PM

    “Expect some growing pains initially.”

    Wow, hate Alvarez, the Blue Jays, Toronto and every citizen of Canada much?

    • phillychzstk2012 - Aug 9, 2011 at 6:05 PM

      Chill.

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