Tampa Bay Rays: Reacquaint yourself with Jose Alvarado

Pitchers and Catchers report THIS month which is beyond exciting as it means baseball is around the corner.  With that in mind, its time to remind you of how filthy Tampa Bay Rays LHP Jose Alvarado is.

It was a lost 2019 season for Jose Alvarado as he only managed to throw 30 innings with a 4.80 ERA.  The explosive lefty was hampered by left elbow inflammation and a right oblique strain that made him an ineffective pitcher.  Now though, Alvarado has had the offseason to recover and will enter spring training looking to regain his previous form.  The Tampa Bay Rays have a ton of quality relief pitchers but Alvarado just might be the best.

Rewind to 2018 season, Alvarado was a force to be reckoned with.  Alvarado threw 64 innings with a sterling 2.39 ERA and had an even better mark by FIP at 2.27.

He also had an incredible 30% K rate and 55% GB rate so 85% of his plate appearances had a high probability of being an out.  Alvarado was worth 2.1 fWAR which was tied for the sixth-best mark among all relievers and tied for second-best lefty behind the Brewers relief ace Josh Hader.

The key to Alvarado’s success is very clearly his electric fastball which he can throw by anyone.  Alvarado throws his fastball 70% and its pretty easy to see why.  Alvarado’s fastball velocity was unsurprisingly in the 4 percent of all pitchers.

Even more impressive is that all of his expected statistics were in the 86th percentile or higher.  He also features a cutter and a curveball occasionally but with a fastball like that what else would he really need?

These physics-defying pitches are presented without comment.

Disgusting, Filthy, borderline violation of basic human rights to decency are all accurate descriptions of those pitches from Alvarado.  Last season was lost to injury but if he is back to 100% healthy in spring training then the Rays are looking at a huge upgrade to their bullpen that doesn’t cost anything but a roster spot.

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The Yankees are obviously the favorite in the division and to win the World Series but the Tampa Bay Rays have a deep roster full of talent on both the pitching and position player side. Jose Alvarado, in particular, has already proven he can be one of the best relievers in the league and better than New York’s prized closer Aroldis Chapman.  So get excited for spring training and be on the lookout for physics bending pitches from Alvarado in 2020.

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