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The weird season of Henderson Alvarez

With the continued success of Jose Fernandez taking the headlines in Miami, Henderson Alvarez's productive 2013 campaign has been pushed to the side. While Henderson's numbers are notelectrifying, his efficiency has helped the Marlins.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The story of the 2013 season for the Miami Marlins has been centered the continued excellence of 21-year-old Cuban Jose Fernandez as he bids for the Rookie of the Year award. That continued dominance has been one of the lone bright spots on an otherwise dreary and dark 2013 campaign for the Marlins. An interesting side-story has been the weird and ridiculous performance from former Toronto prospect Henderson Alvarez.

Since his Marlins debut in early July, Alvarez has been one of the weirdest starting pitchers in the game despite being pretty successful (3.41 ERA and 3.03 FIP) in his relatively short stint. Those above-average numbers are pretty strange when you look at the simple fact that he has one of the lowest strikeout rates (13.4 percent) in the game of baseball.

One of the biggest reasons for the continued success of Alvarez could be pointed towards the pitcher-friendly dimensions of Marlins Park but the graph down below proves otherwise.


While the sample size is still relatively small, they still show that Alvarez has a slight advantage when he's playing away from the friendly confines of South Beach. The only real difference between Alvarez's home and road numbers would be his walk rate, which could be more coincidence than anything else.

Similar to the majority of pitchers on the Marlins, Alvarez excels with his ability to keep the ball inside the park. His insanely low 0.16 homers per nine innings ranks in the upper echelon of MLB starting pitchers. However, that "skill" to prevent the long ball is extremely key for a team like the Marlins who have their issues (to be nice) producing on offense.

As apparent by his low strikeout rate, Alvarez doesn't have a lights-out pitch but rather lulls his opponent (and fans) to sleep. In what seems to be a pattern for Marlins pitchers since the Ricky Nolasco era, Alvarez has the ability to work the inside corner which takes the power from the opposing batter.

His short-term success so far in his stint with Miami is overlooked because of the team's continued struggles and the continued rise of Jose Fernandez but Alvarez is still having an extremely solid and efficient season. That production could go out the window if he starts to lose control of the strike zone with his differing pitches. As he currently stands right now, Alvarez would appear to have a place at the bottom of the rotation as we move into the future but the continued progression of Andrew Heaney and/or Justin Nicolino could push him to the side.