José Alvarado, RP
What a success story José Alvarado has been for this Phillies team. Since coming back up to the majors after a brief stint at Triple-A in 2022, Alvarado has absolutely dominated.
From June 16 of the 2022 season to the end of last year, he had an ERA of 1.22 with 64 strikeouts and just 12 walks in 37 innings. In 2023, over 41 1/3 innings, he had a 1.74 ERA, 64 strikeouts, and 18 walks. He has been the definition of dependable for the Phillies in so many high-leverage and late-inning situations. He’s been Rob Thomson's go-to guy to put out fires whenever it’s been needed.
During his Triple-A stint, he adjusted to almost exclusively throwing just his sinker and cutter. Since then, he’s been able to keep walks to a minimum and the strikeouts high, keeping runners off the bases and the threats at bay. In high- and medium-leverage situations, batters are hitting just .200 and .191 against him with on-base percentages of .307 and .227. In 2023, his ERA in the ninth inning was a minuscule 0.75, surrendering just five walks while striking out 17.
The Phillies need Alvarado big time in 2024, and it’s time for him to raise his bar. At the time of writing this, the Phillies haven't signed a bonafide closer to be the undisputed ninth-inning guy. That guy should be Alvarado. He has surely earned the opportunity to be the full time closer for the 2024 team.