Cubs: Jose Alvarez could be an answer in the Chicago bullpen
After acquiring Zach Davies in the Yu Darvish trade, Chicago’s rotation is full of low-velocity guys who thrive by inducing softer contact. Might the bullpen offer a similar outlook?
Granted, fireballers like Rowan Wick and Craig Kimbrel still lurk at the end of games, and it is important to keep opposing lineups honest with late heat. But remember, the likes of Jeremy Jeffress excelled because of his usage of the sinker and ability to keep the ball down.
Veteran left-hander Jose Alvarez is appealing in this regard. Alvarez has ranked in the top nine percent (or better) of all relievers in average exit velocity three times, per Baseball Savant.
Like Jeffress, the 31-year-old Alvarez employs heavy usage of the sinker and a changeup to right-handed batters. He had a ground ball rate over 50 percent in 2020, and has consistently been able to generate soft contact.
The long ball was an enormous problem for Cubs relievers last season. The bullpen could use someone like Alvarez, who has an 8.0 career K/9 against a friendly 0.9 HR/9 rate.