Right-hander Matt Alvarez has a lot to prove. That comes with the territory of being a non-drafted free agent.
The 2015 season was such an up-and-down season for Alvarez: he pitched so well in the first half and even into July. However, August and September were a different story. He had an ERA over six.
Alvarez has been a guy with great stuff, he just needs to harness it (91 walks in 137.2 career minor league innings). “Just trying to pound the zone more and be consistent with my delivery,” Alvarez said when asked about any adjustments he has made this year.
Enter the 2016 season and it was more of the same for him. Over his first four games, he allowed eight runs on six hits and eight walks in just 4.1 innings. He struck out three.
Then Alvarez faced Frederick on consecutive days, with his second appearance being much better (April 19th): 1IP, H, 0R, BB, K. With that success under his belt, he carried that into his latest appearance, which came on Saturday night. He threw two scoreless innings, allowed one hit, and struck out two.
“I’m just trying to get back to basics,” Alvarez said following Saturday night’s outing. “I didn’t start the season the way I wanted to, so I have to just go back to step one, regroup, get myself back together, and get back out there.”
Even with the two straight scoreless outings, his ERA is still 9.82. Also, he is still throwing way too many pitches out of the strike zone (50 pitches, with 28 being strikes in his last two outings).
But things seem to be looking up, and if he can just manage to keep the walks to a minimum and not consistently fall behind hitters, he will be a key cog in an improving Blue Rocks bullpen.
It also doesn’t hurt that the Boston College product is a Jersey boy. “It’s great,” Alvarez said when asked about playing close to home. “I have family that come down a lot and they get to see me pitch, so that’s definitely a plus.”
You can watch the entire interview below: