Phillies Trade Juan Nicasio for Real Person
When the Phillies acquired Juan Nicasio on waivers on August 31 it looked like a pure salary dump for the Pirates and opportunistic way of shoring up a struggling bullpen for the Phillies. I personally scoffed at the idea that the Phillies would flip Nicasio for anything in trade…
— Phillies (@Phillies) September 6, 2017
Alvarez is not going to turn any heads or make the Phillies farm system great on his own, but he is a real prospect. After spending his first 4 seasons in short season ball, Alvarez hit .323/.404/.476 as a 21 year old in the Midwest League and was rated the 10th best prospect in the Cardinals’ system following the year. The Cardinals then added him to their 40 man roster last offseason and double jumped him to AA this season where he has hit only .247/.321/.382 in 54 games (he missed time with an ankle injury).
Alvarez can run, he has shown in the past that he can hit, but he also doesn’t have much power, and he is not a great defender at second base (due to footwork and actions, not physical tools). As Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen pointed out, he bears physical resemblance to Cesar Hernandez and I would push that to say his path to this point and profile also resemble the Phillies’ current second baseman. Hernandez got plenty of chances in Philly to work through all of his warts and came out a pretty good baseball player. Alvarez is still hard away from that, but he does have a ceiling as an everyday regular.
Prospect wise he fits into the same group of prospects as Jesmuel Valentin and Jose Gomez who are on the fringes of the Phillies top 30 prospects. That group plus SS Malquin Canelo really represents the middle infield gap between J.P. Crawford and Scott Kingery and the next wave headed by Daniel Brito and Arquimedes Gamboa. There won’t be any expectations for Alvarez, who will join an already crowded 40 man roster, but the depth does give the Phillies a better chance at finding a trade chip or future utility infielder.
So nothing ground breaking, but the Phillies got a RP for free and turned him into a real prospect in the span of a week, that is pretty neat.