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?

– MG

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