MLB: Henderson Alvarez Could Return by May

Former All-Star starting pitcher Henderson Alvarez is healing from his injuries and could be ready for MLB action by May.

According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Henderson Alvarez could return to MLB action by May. The right-handed pitcher is currently a free-agent after a disappointing season with the Oakland Athletics. Heyman notes that multiple teams have requested medical information on the Alvarez, showing that teams are still hopeful for his talent.

Alvarez is still quite young, and he will turn 27 years old in mid-April. Despite his age, injuries have derailed his past few seasons. In 2016, he joined the Oakland Athletics on a one-year, $4.25 million contract but failed to start a game in the major leagues.

The reason for this the continuation of an injury from his 2015 season, then with the Miami Marlins. Back in April of that year, he landed on the disabled list with inflammation in his shoulder and elbow. While the righty managed to make a few more starts, his season ended in late July after he underwent shoulder surgery.

Recovery lasted well into the 2016 season, and Alvarez could not overcome his injuries. He eventually had another operation in September that confirmed the end of his season, although he did toss 33 minor-league innings.

Should Alvarez stay healthy, he can be a top-notch contributor. During his last healthy season, he gave the Marlins 187 quality innings. He earned himself a spot on the All-Star team with his 2.65 earned run average and low walk rate. In addition to preventing runs, Alvarez induced quite a few ground balls.

His style of pitching may have excelled at preventing runs that year, but it has generally lacked many strikeouts. He usually posts five or so punch-outs per nine innings and instead relies heavily on his defense to record the outs. Such a style is not necessarily bad, but it could become problematic should he join a team with poor defensive skills.

Before 2014, Alvarez displayed more mixed results. His first season in the MLB, 2011, went quite well. Through 63 innings he showed a similar ability to induce grounders with his sinker and prevent runs all the while. The next season was markedly worse, although he rebounded with the Marlins in 2013.

In Henderson Alvarez, MLB teams will receive a young pitcher with solid upside. He may not be the flashiest signing; but when healthy, he can serve as an excellent contributor to any starting rotation. Whether or not he can remain healthy, however, will be the challenge this season.

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