The Jays would-be starter today, Henderson Alvarez, was shielded from the prying eyes of the Boston Red Sox regulars, so he ended up playing in a minor league game against the High-A Tampa Yankees. Predictably, things went well, as– according to a Mike Wilner tweet– he went seven innings, allowing just two hits, no walks, and striking out four while throwing 72 pitches, 57 of which went for strikes, and topping out at 95.

It’s a level of dominance to be expected from a Major League pitcher against that level of competition, yes. But Wilner gives a little perspective:

Of course, with Alvarez dominating guys from A-ball, somebody had to face the Red Sox regulars (Ellsbury, Pedroia, Gonzalez, Ortiz, etc.). That task went to Drew “15 innings above A-ball” Hutchison, who went four innings, giving up four hits, one walk, and just one run, striking out two.

Far more importantly, though, he hit Kevin Youkilis with a pitch. HOW CAN YOU NOT LIKE THIS GUY???

Comments (76)

  1. Also in the minor league camp, Frankie Pilliere called Justin Nicolino unhittable today locating 3 good pitches including a plus change up.

    • nicolino is my pick to be the top pitching prospect in the organization by the end of the year… he is so advanced i’m expecting a hutchison-esque roll through the low minors ending his season in AA.

      hey – cool handle.

  2. ” HOW CAN YOU NOT LIKE THIS GUY???”

    I missed when Stoeten became Jerry Seinfeld’s mother.

  3. I wonder if by June the rotation will be Romero, Morrow, Drabek, Alvarez, Hutchinson.

    • Hutchison!

    • The way the rotation is shaping up, I’m quite sure the only thing stopping Hutch from getting in the rotation by, say, July will be Hutch.

      My guess is there will be plenty of opportunity for him (I think only one of McGowan/Cecil/Drabek will have much success this year) and if he pitches well wherever he’s sent, I could definitely see him being called up

      • It’s a nice problem to have that’s for sure. Hutchison hasn’t looked out of place against major league hitters at all this spring. Would really feel good about him if his k rate vs major league hitters got closer to his minor league rate but that’s just me nitpicking. Consider his limited exposure to hitters above A ball and it’s really quite impressive what he’s done.

  4. Its kinda fucking amazing how good Alvarez is at 22, and no one is talking about it. Seems like everyone is worried about the 4-5 pitchers, but everyone had also come to the conclusion that Alvarez is going to be a solid #3 pitcher, and no one is really worrying about him… at 22!

    He is just one of those pitchers that goes out and does his business, gets a ton of groundball outs and mows through lineups quickly. He is quickly becoming my favorite Blue Jays pitcher.

    • I’ve drafted him on a few on my fantasy teams as a fifth stater. Probably not a lot of k’s but WHIP and ERA should be pretty decent. If that third pitch comes along eventually he’ll be a strong #2 without doubt.

      As for the depth in the organization, baring injuries, top notch pitching should be a common theme in the coming months and years. This year we’ll get to hear a lot more about guys like Syndergaard, Niccolino and Norris. Then there’s the dark horse Stilson (if he’s healthy).

      • Given his youth, his peripherals may still improve. Fangraphs had a post recently on potential sophomore curses. On Alvarez: “If he can get the third pitch working, while also improve upon his command within the strike zone, Alvarez could see a big jump in his strikeout rate.”.

        I have read another prospect writer say the same but I cannot remember which one.

    • I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that King Hendy doesn’t really speak any English yet, so it’s hard for fans to get to know him outside of the stat sheet.

  5. Hitting Youk with a pitch is always worthy of a post. The fact he held his own is icing on the cake.

  6. I was following the Jays game against Boston on Gameday. My favorite part was Gose getting on due to a Youkilis error then stealing second and taking third on the throwing error. Rajai walked and stole second. I don’t know whether there was even a throw (would you throw to second with Gose on third?). Then Thames hit a single to right field to cash in two runs. Just the thought of Gose and Davis turning singles, walks, and errors into triples gave me a bit of a tingly feelin’.

    BTW- love watching Alvarez throw pitch.

  7. For all the talk about not adding a veteran pitcher to avoid blocking the young guys…some of these young guys are blocking the next wave of young guys…

    • Which is why the McGowan ext is so confusing to me. Next year Drabek, Hutch and maybe Jenkins or Perez will be banging on the 3-5 spots.

      • It’s hard to determine what exactly McGowan’s “ceiling” is at this point…but once upon a time he was considered to have Cy Young-calibre stuff. That can’t be said about any of the young guys he’d potentially block.

        There’s a reason that guys like Harden & Bedard keep getting chances for a few million dollars every year. It’s not like McGowan is Jesse Litsch.

      • Mcgowan has a trade freindly contract now if he turns out to be decent over the next couple years, but still isn’t quite worth the rotation spot….

        • He doesn’t even have to be in the rotation for this contract to potentially be favourable. If he still has the arm and fails as a starter, he could be a late inning reliever or even a closer. Those typically cost more than $1.5 mil/yr.

          Of course, all of this is predicated on him being healthy at least some of the time, which he has not shown over the last few years…

      • Never hurts to have depth especially in the rotation. Witness Boston’s lack of depth there last year and then look at Tampa who had great depth in the starting rotation. Also with plenty of guys ready to make the jump within a year or so at AA, you’ve got massive capital for future trades.

      • Calculated move by AA to keep McGowan with the Jays. 2012 was his walk year and the Jays would have lost him if he didn’t get an extension.

        McGowan is a huge health risk but remember this. McGowan’s stuff, is he is healthy, can be stll very good. Even if he is a shell of his former self as Keith Law reported, he can still contribute 300 quality innings over the next 2 years.

        Look at Boston and the scrubs they are trying to recycle. They would kill to get their hands on McGowan. Much better for us to provide McGowan with some financial security and hope he can pitch than to see him pitch for the Sox next year.

      • If we arn’t going to add a #1 or #2 starter from the free agent market, then signing McGowan to an extension makes sense. He will be the only start over 30, and you might need 1 or 2 of these types if you want to win it all.

  8. Loving this post. It’s the good instead of the bad (Cecil) and the ugly (Lind).

  9. Although it’s to be expected that Alvarez dominated a minor league team it is still good news that he didn’t get hit around. Didn’t Dustin McGowan get shelled in one of his ‘hidden’ minor league starts. I remember Wilner tweeting that they had to stop a couple of innings and that the mercy rule was in effect. In parts of 3 innings he gave up 6 runs, so it’s not a given that you dominate a minor league team.

  10. I thought Hutch was being limited to 3 innings?

  11. lol Gose just steals home to give Jays lead 3-2 heading to bottom of 8th. 4th of game.

  12. I was actually at the game today and saw Alvarez pitch. I’m not a scout obviously but I can confirm he looked dominant. He made a couple of batters look pretty silly and really cruised the whole way through. I was standing right behind wilner and he was loving it.

  13. So the Jays win. That sentence finishes itself with autocorrect after the last 10 days or so.

    • I am terrified that a regression monster will make the Jays start the season 4-22…

      • I can’t help but laugh at a comment on Klaassen’s Getting Blanked article (http://blogs.thescore.com/mlb/2012/03/29/fogging-the-measure-regression-reminder-77184/) that asserted that the audience here is too “sabermetrically-savvy” to need an article explaining regression.

        I’m sure you are just joking around with the term ‘regression monster’, but I do see this misinterpretation of regression quite a lot, where someone expects a period of bad luck to follow a period of good luck.

        • Indeed it’s just poor humour. Regression to the mean is indeed counter-intuitive to many folks. It is a common cause of problem gambling behaviour as well – it leads to “chasing”.

          I think it’s just a human tendency to assume symmetry even where it isn’t warranted.

          That said, I shall personally take regression monsters over flying spaghetti monsters every single time.

  14. A small, feel-good note from today’s game: Kellen Sweeney in same game vs his brother.

  15. Yep.. and Gose stealing home… I wonder if that was planned or if he just decided to give it a try.

  16. A few weeks ago, I said out loud that Bobby V. would be an issue in Red Sox Nation. I said that it might start to percolate by June. Looks like I was totally wrong. Its already started:

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/Curt-Schilling-Bobby-Valentine-Boston-Red-Sox-not-meshing-032812

  17. In honour of Gose’s fun day, here is a reminder of the danger of falling for Parkes’ Proclamations. All his number crunching is sometimes just TRIPE. We don’t have to go into the Bautista screed. Here is his pronouncement re: Gose for Wallace:

    Considering the Phillies prospects ranking prior to the Halladay trade, it’s safe to assume that Anthopoulos could have had Gose seven months ago instead of Taylor. Therefore, Anthopoulos has taken a higher valued outfielder from the Halladay deal and turned him into an outfielder of lesser value, all at the prospect level. Never mind the organizational goals of the Blue Jays, to me, this is the inescapable fact. A player many consider to be more valuable was turned into a player that many consider to be less.

    http://blogs.thescore.com/djf/2010/07/29/point-theres-failure-in-this-trade/

    Remind yourself where Michael Taylor (not the Nationals’ Michael Taylor) and Brett Wallace are?

    Note to Parkes – Point: There is Failure in This Analysis.

    Keep that in mind, regarding Parkes still fighting the McGowan fight – fun stat to keep track of for 2012:

    Parkes: If McGowan pitches as well as Bedard did last year, I will shit my pants on purpose in public, but let’s just pretend he does.

    http://blogs.thescore.com/mlb/2012/03/29/quelle-surprise-millionaire-pitcher-shut-down/#more-38571

    • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. That was the quintessential Parkes moment. It clearly illustrates his poor thinking skills when he doesn’t have statistics as a crutch.

      Player A is on a top 100 list and Player B is not. Hence, there is failure in this trade…

  18. I love Youk. Seeing Hutch drill him actually makes me like him a little less.

    Alvarez is still impressing the hell out of me, though.

    • I like Youk but cant stand the “everything-moves-including-my-sliding-hands” batting
      stance….oh yeah and he’s REALLY ugly!

      • Yep, I admit he’s ugly as all fuck.

        I remember when my buddy and I went down to Fenway for the Jays series last September, Youk had just shaved his beard. My buddy made the comment that with no beard, the batting helmet and the crouched stance, Youk looked like a troll doll. I couldn’t argue with that.

    • Payback for Bard hitting Bautista (I would think), not just some random act of massholeness.

  19. Last week, I was playing against a team where one of the players last name was “Youk”. I sure got a good laugh out of that. Yyyyyoooooouuuuuukkkkkk

    • Haha. I would be personally offended if you weren’t on him non-stop.

      As for the real-life Youk? I don’t get the hate. I’ve met him a couple of times (away from the ballpark) and he’s a really humble, genuine guy.

      Of course, this may have something to do with the bizarre fact that I’m a die-hard Sox fan who still reads DJF religiously because I’m Canadian and want to see the Jays kick some ass. I’m so conflicted…

      • Get real. Well known around baseball that Youk is a world-class douchebag. Players hate him, umpires hate him.

        I think his mom still likes him though. Maybe that counts for something.

        • If I were an umpire or a player, I’d probably hate him too. Even I admit that his little tantrums get really friggin’ tiresome.

          But again, I choose to judge people by how they treat me. The guy was really nice and accommodating to my father and I even though he had no reason to be. The fact that he actually appreciates his fans make him OK in my book.

  20. A few years ago friend’s girlfriend was at a bar in Boston. Youk came up to her and goes. “You know when they say yoooooooooouuuuuuuukkkkkk at Fenway? That’s me.”

    Doesn’t sound very humble

    • Meh. Could be right. But I choose to go with my first-hand experience.

      On the flip side of things, I’ve also been around Beckett and Lackey and while they were cool to me, I’ll admit that they seem like huge douchenozzles.

      I guess the point is that pro athletes are like anyone – some are really good guys and some are total choades.

  21. The Leafs fans tonight chanting “let’s go Blue Jays” after the Flyers scoring their 7th goal made my week.

  22. Looking at the lineups pre-game, I thought there was no chance the Jays would beat the Sox yesterday. Wow, can’t believe it happened.

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