In an area behind home plate populated by pitchers who were charting pitches for both teams, disbelief took over in the 2nd inning, as the likes of Kei Igawa, Zach Stewart, Rey Gonzalez and others all looked at one another to confirm what the radar guns some of them were holding had just displayed.
Making his 4th Class AA start for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, 21-year-old Henderson Alvarez had his electric fastball register at 101 MPH. It may have been his fastest pitch of the day (others reach 96-98 MPH, but cracking 100 wasn't a regular occurrence) and the impact of Alvarez's fastball definitely missed the 4,707 in attendance at Trenton's Waterfront Park, as the facility is not equipped to post such data for the paying crowd to see, but plenty of folks have started to take notice of the right-handed Venezuela native anyway.
Alvarez, who stands 6-feet-1-inch tall and weighs 195 pounds, gave up 5 runs in the opening 2 frames of Sunday's contest against Eastern League East Division rivals the Yankees affiliate Trenton Thunder. After serving up a 2-RBI single to designated hitter Cody Johnson in the home half of the second inning, Alvarez settled down considerably, retiring 8 straight Thunder batters, before a single by Johnson in the 5th and a rising pitch count forced Fisher Cats manager Sal Fasano to make a call to the bullpen.
On the day, Alvarez took the loss, allowing 5 earned runs, 7 hits and 2 walks while striking out 3 batters in 4 1/3 innings.
Last season, Alvarez was recognized as a Florida State League All-star when he went 8-7 with a 4.33 ERA in 23 games as a member of the Class A advanced Dunedin Blue Jays, and represented the Blue Jays in the MLB Futures Game.
This year, Alvarez began the season on the disabled list. After being activated, Alvarez made 2 starts with Dunedin, prior to being promoted to New Hampshire. Overall, in his 4 starts with the Fisher Cats, Alvarez has posted a 2-1 record with a 3.22 ERA, 6 walks and 16 strike outs in 22 1/3 innings pitched.
With the help of righty hurler Rey Gonzalez, who translated, I spoke with Henderson after Sunday's defeat in Trenton. Check out the media player below, to listen to the full interview.
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