Henderson Alvarez is Next in Line for the Jays?

When Carlos Villanueva was placed on the DL, I wrongfully presumed that either Jesse Litsch or Joel Carreno would get the call to fill in when his turn came around. Why? Well, both are on the 40-man roster, and both are older than Henderson Alvarez. Instead of giving Litsch another shot or giving Carreno his first shot, word from John Farrell is that the Jays are seriously considering calling up one of their most prized pitching prospects in Henderson Alvarez. I, for one, am really liking the direction the club is taking now as it continues to call up its best talents.

There is no doubt that Henderson has earned a shot at The Show. His great 2.84 ERA and 1.084 whip tell the story, as he continued to dominate minor league hitters with even better stats than he managed in 2010. Still, one has to wonder if 13 starts in AA are enough to prepare Alvarez for The Show. After watching Kyle Drabek struggle so mightily, it’s surprising to hear that the club may be willing to take this big a risk on another great pitching prospect. My guess is that there are so many pitching prospects coming up the ranks that the Jays feel they can now be a little more aggressive than they have historically been in calling pitchers up.

What to Expect?

If Henderson does get the call, it”ll be interesting to see how he performs. He has only walked 3 hitters while striking out 22 over his last 4 starts in AA and seems locked in to the strike zone. Will he be as willing to throw strikes in the majors? My guess here is that the Jays are going to want to have Jose Molina catching for him and that Henderson will lean on him heavily to get the job done. If he does get the start, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him pitch a strong enough game that would allow him to remain in the rotation for the remainder of the season. Henderson has thrown 91.1 innings so far in 2011 after throwing 112.1 in 2010, so he should have enough innings remaining to remain in the rotation if he does well.

If you’d like to brush up on Henderson Alvarez and his stuff, you can read up on Jared’s write up of him here, as he made it to #13 on our top 50 prospect list pre-2011.

Should Henderson Alvarez become the next cog in the rotation that has impressed most of late and do as well as I expect, questions will be aplenty about just how the future of the Jays rotation will shape up for 2012. When you consider that 2012 should begin with Deck McGuire, Joel Carreno, Nestor Molina, Asher Wojciechowski, and Chad Jenkins all at the AA or above level, you begin to see just how hard it will be to decide who comes up next and in what role.

For now, though, we’ll wait and see how Henderson does when called on and will wait to see who takes his spot in the AA rotation (Nestor Molina should get it, but Drew Hutchison could also get the call based on his sheer dominance in HiA since being promoted there).

What are your thoughts on the possibility of Henderson being called up next week? Too early, or just in time?

What are your thoughts on a possible Henderson Alvarez promotion?

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- MG

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Tags: Henderson Alvarez

  • nearlydenzil

    While the Jays may give Alvarez a few starts, I think the presumption will still be that he starts 2012 in the minor leagues. It is a great pity that Vegas is such a pitcher’s graveyard, as it certainly appears the Jays would rather keep their better prospects in New Hampshire, which only has 5 spaces in the rotation. Carreno goes to Vegas next year I should think, leaving McGuire, Jenkins, Alvarez, Molina and Hutchison being the obvious candidates for New Hampshire. Wojciechowski has had a poor season, and is currently on the DL – I believe he repeats Hi-A again next year..

    The lower levels look loaded with good prospects. I could easily see a Dunedin rotation next year consisting of Nicolino, Syndergaard, Wojciechowski, Sanchez and Nolin.

  • DerekNakluski

    With Litsch coming out of the pen in last nights game means the Jays wont be using him to fill in the start. I think they really want to see if Litsch can help the team out of the pen for 2012, I hope he does well he came in last night in a jam and did very well. So it looks like Alvarez or another young pitcher will get the start.

  • Mylegacy

    I’m a little leery about letting Henderson have a start in the show at this time…Alvarez has had two + pitches for some time – his fastball being close to spectacular. However, the knock was he didn’t have that “third” pitch starters need. Could be – he’s gotten comfortable with a “third” pitch – OR – that his two pitches are good enough that they think he can be competitive in the show with just them.

    When Molina gets stretched out (remember, he was a reliever) and Hutchison gets a bit more under his belt – those two and Henderson look to be some VERY YOUNG serious high end kick ass starters – VERY CLOSE – to being ready for showtime.

  • MCBjohnverburg

    I will almost guarantee that Nicolino, Syndergaard and Sanchez are in Lansing next year to start. Your likely to see Lawrence, Smith, Wojo, Nolin, and one of Taylor Cole, Misaul Diaz, or David Rollins. And the Jays might just want to move Wojo to the pen. In that case, you take 2 of those 3. I would think Cole and Rollins. As for Lansing, you would have to consider depending on instructs and if they sign em, Beede and Norris could potentially begin in Lansing with the top 3 I mentioned, giving the Jays one of the most prospect laden pitching staffs in recent memory. Mitchell Taylor, Myles Jaye, and Griffin Murphy are going to join that conversation as well.