TCN 2016 Cards Prospect #36: Eliezer Alvarez

You know Magneuris Sierra and Edmundo Sosa, so why don’t you know their hard-hitting teammate? Is the second baseman a five-tool player? Having just turned 21, Alvarez will tell us more in 2016.

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile

Hometown: Santiago, Dominican Republic

2015 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
NR 2B 10,15,94 5-11 165 B R 2011 FA

Selected 2015 stats

JC 0.314 0.358 204 32 64 20 2 31 11 32 9 0.365 0.353 0.451 0.804

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Message board community (37): Eliezer Alvarez was one of the more talked about players in the community vote. He ended up getting voted in as the #37 prospect, but began receiving support in the early 20’s by both cflood and SoonerinNC.

Alvarez received a glowing recommendation from SoonerinNC, who posted that Alvarez seems to have a very good glove, outstanding speed, and a good bat with emerging power. He also talked about how Alvarez has been described as a 5-tool prospect. That was something pugsleyaddams later touched on asking, “can any one of us stand at attention and utter the words ‘Eliezer Alvarez’ and immediately not think ‘5-tool player’?” Blingboy tempered those expectations a bit saying that he is very cautious about position players that start their pro career at age 17 in the DR. - Jeremy Byrd

Derek Shore (40): If you want an underrated prospect in the Cardinals system, then look at Eliezer Alvarez. Following a .353 batting clip (22 games) in his second stateside season for GCL Cardinals, the middle infielder moved outside the complex leagues for the first time and enamored scouts and prospect enthusiasts alike.

On a loaded Johnson City squad that featured position player talent galore in Magneuris Sierra, Edmundo Sosa, Chris Rivera and Chris Chinea. Alvarez finished second behind only Sierra (2014 Cardinals MiLB Player of the Year) with a .314 average and led the team with 24 extra-base hits.

What kind of potential does Alvarez offer?

"He is a five-tool player," said Johnson City hitting coach George Greer.

"He progressed as far as hitting the off-speed pitch better, used the whole field better, and has just really, really progressed. It was just a joy to watch him play this summer and prove. He flashed all the tools that are needed to play. He just needed experience and the more he plays, the better he's going to get."

Also, Alvarez was named the 10th best prospect ranked by Baseball America in the Appy League in their annual top 20 rankings of each minor league level. However, he reminds me of another electric prospect who flamed out at Double-A in recent years, Starlin Rodriguez, who of course was hyped for his loud tools and ability to pepper the ball in the gaps before moving off the keystone.

Now that Alvarez has completed his fourth professional season, I'm going to keep a keen eye on Alvarez going into 2016. Hopefully, he will open with an aggressive assignment to the Midwest League. But as we were reminded by Sierra’s performance in the Midwest League - though he has a multitude of tools, he is still learning to harness them - extended spring training maybe the best possible solution, developmentally.

Brian Walton (33): Finally, the first position player makes his appearance in this year’s top 40 countdown!

Again, I am more bullish on the Latin player than my peer voters. While I understand the “five-tool” label is more potential than reality at this time, one important point is clear. Alvarez has consistently demonstrated more pop in his bat than the far more highly-touted Sierra.

I also like the fact Alvarez is an effective switch-hitter, hitting for both average and power from both sides of the plate.

If you look at their results as teammates the last two seasons, yes, Alvarez was second to Sierra in batting average both years (though they were only one point apart this season). More importantly, however, Alvarez outslugged Sierra by 127 points in 2014 and by 57 points in 2015 and finished this season with a higher OPS by 39 points than Sierra. In fact, Alvarez had more than twice as many extra-base hits as Sierra in fewer plate appearances with Johnson City.

With his .314 batting average, Alvarez ranked seventh in the Appalachian League. That comes on the heels of a .353 mark last season in 21 games in the Gulf Coast League for the now just-turned 21-year-old.

Alvarez’ 20 doubles not only tied for third in the league, they were the most by any Cardinals hitter in short-season ball (State College, JC, GCL and DSL). He stole nine bases in 13 attempts this season. What that was not a huge total, it still put him in the league’s top 15. Alvarez drew just 11 walks, something to watch in the future.

Defensively, we have less to go on, but it is fair to note that Alvarez already made the move from short to second base. Other than Darren Seferina, two levels ahead, there is not much competition at the latter position in the system.

Regarding the Baseball America Appalachian League top 20, not only was Alvarez the third Cardinal in the top 10, he was just one spot behind Edmundo Sosa in the league rankings. The shortstop has been considered one of the best infield prospects in the system for several years.

In other words, a credible and unbiased outside observer considers the two middle infielders to be comparable in upside at this stage of their careers. Yet, I will not be much of a spoiler by noting that you won’t be reading about Sosa (or Sierra, either, for that matter) in this space for another month or so.

As a closing point, all three – Sierra, Sosa and Alvarez – were named 2015 Appy League All-Stars, not surprisingly.

If Alvarez isn’t on your radar with the other two yet, he needs to be.

Our 2016 top 40 series continues: To see the entire list of top Cardinals prospects and remaining article schedule, click here. This includes the top 40 countdown and nine in-depth, follow-up articles. Most of the latter are exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation.

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