ANAHEIM CA - JULY 11: World Futures All-Star Henderson Alvarez #31 of the Toronto Blue Jays throws a pitch during the 2010 XM All-Star Futures Game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 11 2010 in Anaheim California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
UPDATE: Dave Gershman now confirms that Henderson's contract will be purchased this week.
This was apparently first talked about by Blue Jays manager John Farrell on Rogers Sportsnet, a Canadian television station. According to Tony Ambrogio, a reporter for the station, Farrell said right-handed pitcher Henderson Alvarez "could be a candidate" to make a start after Carlos Villanueva's injury . Dave Gershman, who has spent time with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats where Alvarez has been pitching this year, has been hearing rumors of a callup as well.
Alvarez is 21 years old and has yet to pitch above the Double-A level, but is turning in quite a performance there. So far, in 15 games and 88 innings pitched, he has 66 strikeouts and only 17 walks to go with a 2.86 ERA. Alvarez signed with the Blue Jays when he was 16 years old out of Venezuela and played in the Futures game last year. His strikeouts per nine innings pitched have consistently been in the high-six range, while his walks per nine innings pitched are generally in the mid-to-low ones.
Alvarez appeared on Keith Law's midseason prospect rankings at number 39, where he had this to say:
Alvarez has No. 1 starter stuff, but as with Casey Kelly, the results don't quite line up with the scouting report. He's hit 100 mph as a starter and already has a plus changeup, but there's effort in that delivery, and he has to show he can miss more bats.
Alvarez will most likely not stick in the big leagues this time around, but if he can gain control of his breaking ball, he may turn into the future ace of the Blue Jays' staff. It will be a good sample of what Jays' fans can expect in the years to come.