Each offseason, MLB Network releases their Top 10 players at each position. The Philadelphia Phillies have been well-represented as Brandon Marsh, Kyle Schwarber, Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, J.T. Realmuto, and Zack Wheeler have all been ranked in the Top 10 of their respective positions.
The Phillies can add one more player to that list, as José Alvarado was named the 10th-best relief pitcher heading into 2024 in the network's rankings.
Alvarado finished the season with a 1.74 ERA in 41 1/3 innings pitched. Among relievers with at least 40 innings thrown in 2023, the Phillies' left-hander ranked third in K/9 (13.94), eighth in ERA, and fourth in FIP (2.41). He was dominant in almost every situation in which he was called to pitch.
The only thing that held the hard-throwing left-hander back was two IL stints. In May, Alvarado hit the shelf with elbow inflammation that didn't require surgery, and in July, he hit the IL with the same injury. He was able to rehab back from both and was an integral part of the Phillies' bullpen.
Looking ahead to José Alvarado's 2024
Looking ahead to this season, it's not hard to see why MLB Network ranked the Phillies reliever in their Top 10. He has devastating stuff. He sports a sinker that averages 98.7 mph and a cutter that averages 93.1 mph. The cutter has a whiff rate of 44.5 percent.
Assuming Alvarado is healthy heading into 2024, it wouldn't be surprising to see him appear in games frequently. He can get both right-handed and left-handed hitters out and can be used in just about any high-leverage situation. His preseason projections were analyzed earlier this year as part of our 2024 Season Preview Series.
With the lack of additions to strengthen the Phillies' bullpen, it's apparent that the club will rely on relievers like Alvarado in big-game situations. Manager Rob Thomson typically doesn't define roles for all his relief pitchers, and that's unlikely to change unless someone grabs the reins to take the closer spot.
The fact that Alvarado is so versatile likely means he'll be used in any situation where the Phillies need a big out or two. He has been one of the most consistent pitchers in the club's bullpen, and that should be the expectation heading into the new season.
If healthy for the full season, Alvarado will have his chance to prove he is a top reliever in the game right now. Should he perform well over a larger sample size, perhaps he'll move up in the rankings heading into 2025.