Henderson Alvarez went to 2-0 on the season after yet another stellar start Thursday, lasting only 5 innings, but allowing only 5 hits, 1 walk, getting 3 Ks and not allowing any runs in a 6-1 win! His ERA on the season now stands at 0.47. Baseball America’s Ben Sadler included both Alvarez and Travis d’Arnaud in his most recent Daily Dish column.
The better effectiveness of Henderson’s pitching is directly attributed by Jays coaches to his regimen between starts and his maturing body – the exact reasons I gave he should be ranked higher in most rankings of Jays prospects. They say that his fastball is low regularly in the low 90s and that he can touch 96 MPH. Well, what a difference velocity makes, as he’s been just outstanding, and dominating, for the first part of the season.
Henderson just turned 20 on the 18th of April and already has this line in HiA: 19 IP/12 hits/1 ER/3 BB/9 Ks/0.47 ERA, so my question is, when does he get promoted? How long are the Jays going to leave him in HiA? Well, I think that depends on their confidence in his stuff and how well it’ll play in AA, and also in when a rotation spot opens in AA. With so many guys coming and going, including the eventual returns of Marc Rzepczynski and Jesse Litsch, it’ll be hard to want to push him too quickly. Basically, the Jays are in no rush at this time to add yet another pitcher to the “knocking on the door list” since they have those returnees as well as Brad Mills, Rei Gonzalez, Kyle Drabek, and others who are still going to be ahead of Henderson.
I do believe Henderson will stick in HiA until at least mid-season, bu more than likely until a month is left in the AA season. He’ll get a taste of AA at the end of the year and begin 2011 there, if I’m right. One important thing this also does is that it allows d’Arnaud and Alvarez to continue to work together and will make them that much better a pair of rookies when they break with the Jays. It’s very encouraging to see both these guys doing so well in 2010.
Just to update people on 21 year old Travis d’Arnaud’s performance thus far in the season:
57 AB/ 21 hits/ 5 doubles/ 3 HRs/ .368 avg/ .403 OBP/ .614 SLG/ only 7 Ks to 4 walks
Here’s what Ben had to say about his abilities:
"“D’Arnaud’s plus bat speed helps him hit for power, while his low-maintenance swing allows him to stay short to the ball, so the power doesn’t come at the expense of making contact. That skill set has shown up in d’Arnaud’s early numbers.”"
The column followed that up with praise for his defensive skills – something Travis takes a lot of pride in. The fact that Henderson Alvarez will be familiar with someone like Travis when he makes it to the Jays should definitely help his development and chances to be effective right off the bat. They’re one great combination to watch as they climb the ladder together, and one that I can’t wait to see in Toronto.