2024 Phillies Player Spotlight: Jose Alvarado

With the 2024 MLB season bearing down on us. We here at EOP will spotlight a Phillies player every week until the start of the 2024 season. We will highlight their 2023 season, strengths, weaknesses, and 2024 projections. This week we will highlight relief pitcher Jose Alvarado.

With the Phillies incorporating a closer-by-committee approach for the back end of their bullpen. Jose Alvardo will be in play as one of the committee members. Alvarado has closer stuff in his arm that isn’t the question the question is does he have closer stuff in his head?  

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2023 Season

Alvarado, 28, heads into his fourth season in the Phillies bullpen after a 2023 campaign that saw him battle elbow issues and pitch only 41 1/3 innings. But when he was healthy, the big left-hander was lights-out dominant with a 1.74 ERA and 37.2 percent strikeout rate, picking up 10 saves in 12 chances.

Alvarado looks to have the inside track for the “closer” role in 2024. Even if manager Rob Thomson deploys a closer-by-committee approach, it’s hard to imagine the big lefty not getting the lion’s share of the save opportunities.

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Strengths

Injuries dictated Alvarado’s innings in 2023 but given the body of work, Alvarado ranked in the 90th percentile or better in several categories according to Baseball Savant, including strikeout rate (37.2 percent), whiff rate (33.5 percent), barrel rate (4.4 percent), ground ball rate (55.6 percent), ERA (2.75), and BA (. 202).

Weaknesses

Whether you are for or against the closer by committee closer by committee is what it is. Alvarado is a closer, he throws like a closer, he is used as a closer, and he has closer stuff. So why isn’t he the closer? The simple answer is this he has not proven himself in that role either here or in Tampa Bay. The mental mistakes and the control are the two major reasons he has not been given the job full-time. But the whole body of work and the potential are enough to keep Alvarado around.  

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2024 Projection

Alvarado’s pitch arsenal has changed since first donning the red pinstripes in 2021. After reducing his seldom-used curveball and four-seamer in 2021 and 2022, he cut both offerings out of his arsenal in 2023. He has used his sinker less and cutter more under Cotham’s watch, with great success.

If Alvarado continues to attack hitters with the same arsenal in 2024, we may see him better his projections, which would be great for the Phillies and the bullpen in tight, late-game situations.

Is this the year the Phillies turn over the closer job to him full-time? For all you anti-committee people out there, I think the approach is more necessary than philosophy. Alvarado was brought here in 2021, hoping he could put it all together and be that closer. Is 2024 that year?

Matt Bednarczyk
Matt Bednarczyk

Matt Bednarczyk is your host of Talking Philly Sports With Matty B. He is a proud retired US Army Sergeant First Class, he is also a combat veteran with over 80 months served in Afganistan, and Iraq . Huge Hockey Fan. Matt is a lifelong 4 for 4 Philly sports fan. Born and raised on the Mayfair and Tacony neighborhood lines of Northeast Philly. He brings over 40 years of Philadelphia Sports passion and provides a realistic look at our Major Sports Teams and the most passionate sports fans on the planet. Look for his show live on Edge of Philly Sports.

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