Has Jose Alvarez Made His Last Pitch For LA Angels?
By David Rice
The LA Angels had many problems this season which led to their subpar season. One of the most glaring issues was their bullpen, especially left-handed specialists. Jose Alvarez did not pitch well.
When the LA Angels decided to let Cesar Ramos go at the end of the 2015 season they thought Jose Alvarez was ready to fill that role by himself. Unfortunately they were mistaken, sadly mistaken. Alvarez pitched so bad in one stretch that the Angels actually sent him to the minors leaving the team without a left-hander in the bullpen. They did eventually recall Alvarez, but the results were only so-so
In the first three months of the season Alvarez was at least consistent posting a 4.15 ERA in April and May. Then in June his ERA dropped to 4.09. Those numbers were adequate at best for a reliever, especially a lefty-specialist. The thing that was even more alarming to me was his 1.51 WHIP and an opponents batting average of .304. Both extremely high for any pitcher.
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In July Alvarez was even worse as he posted an 8.10 ERA in five appearances driving his ERA up to 4.50 for the seasons. He was promptly sent down to Triple-A Salt Lake City. Alvarez wasn’t down very long as he was recalled a week later. When he came back he actually finished the year fairly strong numbers-wise. He posted an ERA of 1.77 for the last two months of the season, as Alvarez only gave up two earned runs in 16 innings. Alvarez lowered his ERA to a season-ending 3.51.
However, if you dig deeper his numbers weren’t as good as they looked. Alvarez despite having the low ERA had a WHIP of 1.33 during that time with an opponents batting average of .273. The numbers were better than the first half, but still not great for a lefty-specialist. Alvarez finished the season with a 1-3 record, a 3.51 ERA and a WHIP of 1.50. Opponents batting average was a robust .298 as well.
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So the question now becomes for the Angels, where do they go from here. None of the lefty specialist panned out in 2016 with Cody Ege and Greg Mahle. Both Ege and Mahle had ERA’s over five runs per game.
If I was the Angels I would be looking at the free agent market and trying to bring in someone who is not too costly, but still effective. As we have seen in the post-season both the Cubs and Cleveland have very effective lefties out of the bullpen in Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller.
Next: Can the Angels get some end of the season hardware?
Now I am not expecting the Angels to go after either one of those guys, but Chapman is a free agent after the playoffs. Just saying!!!