With only seven nominees fighting for this year’s James Mungro Memorial Award sponsored by Kia, (hoping if I keep putting a company’s name there they’ll actually sponsor the award), we can get to know our brave competitors on a closer level before cuts are made. In the coming weeks, we’ll profile each one, going in alphabetical order. Unless I accidentally go out of order.
Today we have RHP Jose Alvarez, or as he’s known on one hospital’s birth certificate in Venezuela (if he’s telling the truth) Jose Ricardo Alvarez.
The Tigers signed Alvarez to a minor league deal back in November. Key words: minor league. Alvarez, 23, has been in American professional baseball, which I hear is the best kind of professional baseball, for six years now. He’s never been higher than AA.
OK, so he’s no Mike Trout. But we don’t want Trout as a nominee. One of youngest players in the league redefining a position and possibly the game in his first year in the league? Puh-leese. Heard it before.
You know what Alvarez is that Trout isn’t? A two-time winner of the best changeup in the Miami Marlins’ Farm System. Take that Mike! Although, I’m pretty sure the ‘Best Changeup in the Miami Marlins’ Farm System’ award is the fourth most famous fake award on the internet, right behind the JMMA.
But the most interesting thing about Alvarez isn’t what he has on his resume — which appears to be a changeup and nothing else — but what part of his resume is true.
Baseball Reference and Alvarez’s Detroit Tigers profile have him with a 6-9 record and 4.22 ERA last season for the Jacksonville Suns (AA affiliate for the Miami Marlins). But the MLive article I linked to earlier, and just did again, says that’s impossible. Alvarez sat out the 2012 season due to surgery on a torn labrum in his left shoulder. It even specifies that the surgery occurred in late May and it was performed by Dr. James Andrews.
HOWEVA, the Jacksonville Suns website has Alvarez losing games as late as August 30, the fifth-to-last game of the season.
Also, about a month after Alvarez signed, in December, our friends over at Bless You Boys posted a link to a Detroit Free Press article titled ‘Jose Alvarez could be one to watch in the spring’. Yet, if you click on the link, it tells you the story is not found.
I have so many questions.
Did Alvarez have the surgery? Did he not tell the Jacksonville Suns about it and just continue to pitch anyway? Is Alvarez super human? Is James Andrews that good? Did MLive.com writer James Schmehl just make stuff up? Should we watch Alvarez this spring or not? Is he really a two-time winner of the best changup in the Marlins’ farm system? Who votes on the best changeup in the Marlins farm system? How do I apply? Do the Marlins have best-of awards for other pitches or is it just the changeup?
Our crack team of non-existent investigators will have more information in the coming days. Until then, Alvarez has an uphill battle in becoming the James Mungro Memorial Award sponsored by Kia (kind of) Winner. His two best changeup awards are a step in the right direction, and this International Man of Mystery Status is intriguing, but Alvarez lacks Twitter and Facebook accounts, and there’s just not enough general information on him for the Hustlers to fall in love.
Then again, if he starts mowing down batters with a 36 mph changeup, that could change quickly.