Today, the Phillies called up starting pitcher Henderson Alvarez and relief pitcher Victor Arano before their 10 game home stand. Alvarez, 27, will be in the majors for the first time since May of 2015. On May 22nd of 2015, Alvarez injured his throwing shoulder, and underwent arthroscopic right-shoulder surgery. He signed a 1 year, $4.25 million dollar deal with the Oakland A’s last season, but was unable to make it back to the big leagues. Alvarez did not sign with a major league team this season, and pitched for the independent league Long Island Ducks until the Phillies gave him a minor league contract last month. The Valencia, Venezuela native had his best season in 2014, when he went 12-7 with a 2.65 ERA in 30 games for the Miami Marlins. In that season, Alvarez went to his only career All-Star game and threw a league high 3 complete game shutouts, including a no-hitter in the last game of the season. At 27, Alvarez is young enough to turn his career back around and could be a candidate for the Phillies rotation next season if he pitches well enough to convince the team to re-sign him.
Arano, 22, was arguably the Phillies top relief pitching prospect throughout last season. Acquired in the Roberto Hernandez trade in 2014, Arano struggled his first professional season in the Phillies system, but went 5-2 with a 2.26 ERA in 46 games last season between Clearwater and Reading, leading some people to see him as the next great relief pitcher to come out of the Phillies system that recently produced Ken Giles. However, the Cosamaloapan, Mexico native strained his elbow in spring training and has not quite been the same pitcher since. Arano’s fastball velocity, which stayed 95-97 last season, has dipped to 92-95 for most of this season. In 32 games for Reading, Arano had a 1-2 record and an ERA of 4.19. After striking out 95 batters in 79.2 innings last season, Arano is missing bats less, striking out 38 in 38.1 innings this year. Despite these struggles, Arano still has promise as a reliever for the future, with his velocity increasing back to the mid-90s over his past couple outings in addition to his plus slider and competent changeup. If he pitches well this September, Arano should be a part of a much improved Phillies bullpen next season that could also include recent standouts Adam Morgan and Luis Garcia, Hector Neris, and current starters Nick Pivetta and Vince Velasquez.
Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports