Dodgers Prospect Watch: Yadier Alvarez Finally Beginning to Stir

Now that the regular season is quickly approaching its third week, we’re finding out a bit more on a daily basis about why a handful of players in the Dodgers‘ system mysteriously disappeared from their normal roster statuses during the early phases of the 2017 campaign.

Righty phenom Walker Buehler was held back at extended spring training for a little over a week, non-roster invite Josh Sborz spent a little over two weeks in Glendale, and prized prospect Yadier Alvarez hung around Camelback Ranch for almost three weeks before finally making his debut against the Lancaster JetHawks on Monday.

And if the more dedicated fans dig hard enough, they’ll find that there were plenty more beginning their respective seasons in extended spring training, perhaps a ploy by management to utilize a new type of strategy in the development of some of the younger players. All this is happening while 20-year-old southpaw Julio Urias is still taking his turns in the rotation at Triple-A Oklahoma City — something that fans didn’t expect to see until early May, after Urias was able to rest his arm in hopes of saving his fuel for the 2017 postseason.

Rumors were circulating in early spring whispering that Alvarez showed up to camp a bit out of shape and was sent to Glendale to tuneup for a brief time. Regardless, he did what was expected of him early, and finally made it to the bump to start a game for Rancho Cucamonga in the Cal League this week.

In the end, Alvarez’s debut was not pretty at all. He didn’t strikeout a single batter, which is extremely uncharacteristic of the 21-year-old righty. He ended up throwing 65 pitches over 2-1/3 innings, surrendering seven runs on nine hits, with two walks and two wild pitches in the Quakes’ 9-5 loss to Lancaster.

According to J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group, Alvarez’s fastball sat in the 93-96 MPH range in the first frame, and drifted down to the 90-92 range by the beginning of the third inning. Last season, Alvarez was clocked in the triple digits on more than one occasion. Yet while his initial performance of the 2017 season was indeed a bit gloomy, all signs point to the young Cuban regaining his form quickly during his next few turns in the Rancho rotation.

For the fans of the Dodgers who may be unfamiliar with Alvarez, he’s currently ranked as the second best prospect in the organization by MLB Pipeline. Between Rookie League and Low-A Great Lakes last season, he posted a 4-3 record with a 2.12 ERA and a 12.3 K/9 over 59-1/3 innings of work.

When we initially took a glance at Alvarez in December of 2015, he didn’t have much of a track record in terms of organized baseball, and it remained somewhat of a mystery the exact type of skill set he would bring along with him to the farm. Now that he’s beginning to progress through the lower levels of the minors, reports from many of the scouts have been outstanding.

As far as his repertoire, Alvarez features a four-seamer that varies in velocity in the 94-100 MPH range. His slider is by far his best breaking pitch, often being clocked around 20 MPH slower than his fastest heater. His change and curveball are still in the developmental stages, but were already beginning to show promise with the Loons and in the Arizona League.

People who follow Alvarez closely believe that he could make an impact as a reliever early in his career, yet many of the pundits see his best potential as a starter, so long as he continues to sharpen his command. Some scouts have even uttered a conceivable ceiling of a No. 2 starting pitcher.

Having just turned 20-years-old in March, he’s still in need of some time to fill out his lanky 6’3″ frame, yet if he stays on course and consistently improves his pitching control, Alvarez may zip through the High-A level this year and conceivably see limited time with Double-A Tulsa by season’s end.

(FOLLOW DENNIS ON TWITTER: @THINKBLUEPC)

 

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Dodgers Send Forsythe & Segedin to Disabled List, Recall Taylor & Eibner

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(Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports)

The Dodgers on Wednesday placed infielder Logan Forsythe and infielder/outfielder Rob Segedin on the 10-day disabled list and recalled outfielder Brett Eibner and infielder/outfielder Chris Taylor from Triple-A Oklahoma City. Forsythe is suffering complications from a fractured toe, while Segedin was diagnosed with a strain in his right foot.

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Dodgers Roster: A Quick Look at the Organizational Bullpen Depth

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When long man Alex Wood was recently shifted back into the starting rotation and righty Josh Fields was recalled to the big league bullpen, a popular topic of conversation among fans of the Dodgers was the discussion surrounding the organizational depth of relief pitchers.

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Dodgers Send Grant Dayton to Disabled List, Recall Josh Fields

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(Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday placed left-handed pitcher Grant Dayton on the 10-day disabled list with a left intercostal muscle strain in the rib area and recalled right-handed pitcher Josh Fields from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

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Dodgers Prospect Watch: Joe Broussard Dealing, O’Koyea Dickson Raking Early

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(Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Davis)

On Tuesday afternoon, Andy put together a rather intriguing story surrounding the question of whether or not the Dodgers should consider a roster move or two based on the early performances of some players, most specifically those in utility or bench roles. Ironically, as the club embraces the middle game of the three-game set against the Cubs at Wrigley, we may see the bullpen revamped with the addition of righty Pedro Baez, while the offense could be infused with the presence of Trayce Thompson, if lefty-killer Franklin Gutierrez does indeed find himself on the 10-day disabled list with a hamstring problem.

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Dodgers Roster: Is It Too Early for a Few Performance-Based Adjustments?

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One week into the season, and fans of the Dodgers are already getting restless. The narratives from last year have carried into this one — the injuries, the inability to hit with runners in scoring position, and the troubles facing left-handed pitching. Other teams are changing their rotations to have as many left-handers as possible face the Dodgers. Rich Hill is the first starter to be placed on the DL, and Justin Turner left the game early last night with a quad strain.

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Dodgers Roster: Realigning the Starting Pitching Depth Chart

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Admittedly for many fans of the Dodgers, veteran lefty Rich Hill wasn’t the first member of the original starting rotation thought to have been destined for a stay on the 10-day disabled list so early in the season. But while this move is more of a precautionary measure than a required need, it’s probably safe to say that Hill’s stay will result more towards the minimum amount of time instead of an elongated period. Even so, it surely doesn’t hurt to take a look at the depth chart beyond the current starting five.

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More Thoughts on the Oklahoma City Opening Day Roster

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(Mandatory Credit: Michael Spomer/Cal Sports Media)

If anyone took a glance at the Oklahoma City Dodgers roster entry on the team’s official website over the weekend, they would have seen that the number of active players was holding strong at 33, letting the thought linger that a huge personnel shakeup was on the horizon before the season opener against Iowa on April 6.

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Dodgers Finally Reveal Remainder of 25-Man Roster

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The Dodgers on Thursday announced the final cuts to achieve their 25-man roster. Scott Van Slyke, Enrique Hernandez and Austin Barnes will remain with the team. Trayce Thompson, Chris Taylor and Julio Urias were optioned to the minor leagues, while catcher Bobby Wilson was reassigned.

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Rethinking the Oklahoma City Starting Rotation

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Several scenarios have become much more clear since we published our initial 25-man roster projections for the Oklahoma City Dodgers just under a week ago, especially the prospective components of the pitching staff. The position player portion of the roster will remain pretty much the same; however, the starting rotation will potentially consist of a group of Triple-A veterans, with the exception of one of the organization’s top starting prospects, right-handed sinkerballer Trevor Oaks.

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