3. Yadier Alvarez, Starting Pitcher, Advanced A
ETA: 2018 (Bullpen)
Best Tool: Fastball
Yadier Alvarez may end up being the best player included in this list when this is all said and done. He’s the type of baseball player that other baseball players hate to play catch with because it is just that intimidating when that fastball gets going. The Cuban born right-hander lives around the triple-digits with the cheese, and his arm strength certainly has not reached its peak.
He’s listed at 6’3, 175 pounds and they must have taken that while he was soaking wet. Nicely put, the kid has room to grow and add muscle. As his body develops, the Dodgers are hoping that his secondary pitches will do the same. He has three of them and they all seem to have shown potential to be that pitch that gets him to the next level because essentially no pitcher can make it in the big leagues with one pitch – shout-out to Mariano Rivera and Kenley Jansen.
So far this year, Alvarez has struggled in High-A after two starts, with an ERA above 13.00 in six innings and opponents hitting .500 against him. Clear evidence that professional hitters can turn around fastballs at any speed when they don’t fear another pitch.
Orel Hershiser may have said it best last year during a broadcast when discussing what makes pitchers successful in the MLB. To paraphrase, he noted that a pitcher with the ability to throw one pitch at a high level will compete, a pitcher that can throw two pitches at that level will win, but a pitcher that can throw three at that level? They will dominate.
With that in mind, Buehler skips Alvarez on this list, but only for now. Alvarez can be a front-of-the-rotation-guy for a long time if it all works out for him.