End of Season Prospect Review: Adbert Alzolay

Adbert Alzolay

Adbert Alzolay

alzolay_2017_18_ratings

Fastball sits around 94 but reaches back for 97 whenever necessary. Breaking ball is a swing-and-miss pitch when he keeps it down and can also function as a get-over pitch for looking strikes inside the zone. After rarely using his changeup in 2017 the pitch showed improvement, albeit in a small sample size. Draws raves for intelligence and preparation.

What I looked for in 2018

1) Improve consistency and confidence in his changeup

2) Get intro to MLB, likely in relief or spot starts

Season Review

alzolay_2017_18stats

Health was an obvious issue, as Alzolay got off to late start in spring training due to an ankle injury, and then had his season cut short by a lat injury. This prevented him from reaching mid-season form and he never got the chance to lock in all of his offseason developmental work.

His overall numbers don't pop, but Alzolay flashed dominance on multiple occasions, taking a no-hitter through 4 innings or beyond in 3 of his 8 starts. His game against Omaha on April 30th featured 7 shutout innings with just one hit allowed while he tied a season high with 6 strikeouts. He then fired 4 perfect innings in his final start before his season-ending lat strain forced him from the game.

Positives

His changeup showed signs of improvement. Alzolay and the team force fed the pitch into many game situations in order to help him gain feel and trust for it. While not always effective, it was a necessary stepping stone to future success, and one that should help him build confidence with the offering moving forward.

Negatives

His command was rarely sharp, which goes in tandem with him never finding a rhythm, and it also led to a discovery that a slight change in game plan may be necessary moving forward. Alzolay was able to get away with frequently pitching at the top of the zone in A+/AA, but ran into issues with that approach at times in AAA. Alzolay needs to drive the ball down to the bottom of the zone and then elevate with purpose rather than trying to live up there.

Summation

I know most will chalk up 2018 as a disappointment, but I was encouraged by the baby steps he took with his changeup, and the learning experience gleaned from not being able to consistently blow 95-97 by more advanced hitters at the top of the zone. Alzolay is consistently praised as an intelligent game planner with an ability to adapt so I expect he will learn from both his successes and failures from this past season. He remains my top rated pitching prospect in the system.

2019 Outlook

Alzolay will hit the reset button, open next season in Iowa once again, and hopefully take the lessons he learned this year to heart. There will be greater depth and competition in the 2019 I-Cubs rotation for positioning to be the first man up to Chicago when the need arises. If Alzolay returns healthy, I would bet heavily on him securing the role as the go-to fill in for Chicago throughout the 2019 season.

Filed under: prospects

Comments

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  • My biggest concern with Alzolay is whether he can get past the injury bug. The drop in his command numbers in 2018 is probably directly related to the developmental time he missed. Maybe 2019 will be his breakout year.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Neither were to his elbow or shoulder. He twisted his ankle In ST and took a while to get going. Played catch up until going down with lat strain. He'd been perfectly healthy previous three years and had also pitched in AFL after 2017 season. Durability doesn't appear to be a big concern.

  • Michael - I asked this in other thread but this might be a better place. Outside of Alzolay, we seems to have a number of guys that project out to be MOR or BOR type guys. But sometimes, guys just make a jump for reasons unknown and things just click. If you had to pick one or two guys that could make a jump to be a TOR guy, which one would you pick and why?

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Alzolay, Marquez, Albertos.

    I can't speak for Gallardo, Franklin and other new signings/draft picks as I have not seen them.

  • Truth be told, I would have loved watching him take the 5 spot all summer with Chatwood and Monty having issues.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I don't know, Monty and Hamels worked out.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I would have preferred Alzolay took on Farrell's role this year as multi-inning reliever and spot starter

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    That's the role I was talking about -- when Chatwood struggled and Monty got hurt. I would have enjoyed watching him versus those others.

  • Looking forward to watching alzolay with the big league team in 2019, he definitely would of been up this year if it wasn't for the lat injury. I check his twitter occasionally and he scouts mlb pitchers with similar pitching repertoire as his. He was scouting Castillo from the reds and just posted a pic in cleats saying he'll be back stronger.

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