Jose threw his change 22% of the time in 2019 and it was generally effective, holding opponents to a .624 OPS with a .056 ISO. Empoloyed about 3x as often against RHB and most prominently as a chase pitch (28.8% zone) it features excellent depth and armside fade and with an almost 10 mph differential off his fastball, gets excellent chase (45.8%) and whiff rates (19.1%).
Alvarez shifted in 2019 to primarily using his sinker (38.6%) over his fourseamer (14%) but got similar results with both (.267 vs .270 wOBA). The sinker exhibits average drop but excellent armside tail and gets 54% GB while the fourseamer has more normal rise but also good tail. The sinker gets slightly more whiffs at 8% vs 7.2% for the fourseamer and is the favored option when ahead in the count.
The cutter is not a prominent piece in Alvarez’s repertoire, being used just 8% of the time and almost exclusively off the inner half to RHB, and it generated modest whiff rates in 2019 (7.8%). Its modest cut and above average rising action led to it being tagged for a .498 wOBA overall.
With below average depth, break, and velocity (82.4 mph), the slider was not effective in 2019 for Alvarez with the league slugging .609 against it with a .412 wOBA. Alvarez does get a few whiffs (12.1% SwStr) and can throw it for strikes (45.5% zone), but perhaps should do so less often, allowing a 84.6% Z-Contact with it.
Alvarez’s four-seam fastball was his most thrown pitch in 2018, as well as his least effective of his four main pitches. His lateral movement has dropped each of the last two seasons, and last year saw a sharp drop in O-swing% to 18.5%. He allowed all three of his home runs for the year on the four-seamer, to go along with a .222 ISO against the pitch.
Alvarez threw his slider more than ever in 2018, and for good reason, as he held batters to a .171 AVG, no home runs, and only two walks on the pitch. His ability to throw the pitch for strikes and limit home runs make it his best pitch, and he should continue to lean on its 15.2 SwStr% going forward.
The two-seamer was Alvarez’s most valuable fastball in 2018, and he continues to add more sink to it each year. His 9.5 SwStr% was the best of his career with the two-seamer, and the pitch only allowed three extra-base hits all season.
Alvarez used his changeup as a chase pitch more than ever in 2108 with a 23.1 Zone%. His changeup’s 17.7 SwStr% was the best among his pitches, and opponents had a hard time making contact even on the rare occasions that it found the strike zone. But until he can throw it for more strikes, Alvarez’s changeup will remain an average pitch.
Alvarez barely used his cutter in 2018 and it was his least valuable pitch. He should continue to phase this pitch out in favor of more sliders.