Los Angeles Dodgers pitching prospects Yadier Alvarez, Dennis Santana and Mitchell White were promoted to Double-A Tulsa this week. The trio of right-handers began the season with High-A Rancho Cucamonga.
The decision to promote Alvarez is a curious one. While heralded as one of the jewels from the 2015-16 international signing period, the Cuban native has been hampered by command issues.
Alvarez made his professional debut last year, pitching for Low-A Great Lakes and the Arizona League Dodgers. He went a combined 4-3 with a 2.12 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 21 walks and 81 strikeouts in 59.1 innings pitched across 14 starts.
The flamethrower began this season with High-A Rancho Cucamonga, where he went 2-4 with a 5.31 ERA, 25 walks and 61 strikeouts across 59.1 innings in 14 games (11 starts). Alvarez recorded at least five strikeouts in nine of his games with the Quakes.
Alvarez went into the 2017 season ranked the No. 26 prospect by Baseball America. He dropped to 60th in the publication’s midseason update. Despite some shaky performances in the first half, Alvarez started the 2017 Futures Game.
Santana was 5-6 with a 3.57 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in 17 games (14 starts) with the Quakes. He produced four outings with eight strikeouts and set a season high with 10 strikeouts on July 6. This year was Santana’s first pitching in the California League.
White was strong out of the gate for the Quakes, going 2-1 with a 3.72 ERA prior to suffering a fractured toe. The 2016 second-round draft pick threw four innings in a start on April 7 that finished as a combined no-hitter.
White did not allow the first earned run of his career until the second inning of a start on April 18. It was a streak that dated back to 2016 and reached 32 innings.
Since sustaining the toe fracture, White made three starts with the AZL Dodgers. He threw a combined seven innings and allowed just one unearned run, two hits, issued two walks and struck out eight.
Walker Buehler is another who began the season with the Quakes and has since been promoted. Buehler joined the Drillers in May and this week was promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he endured a rocky debut Thursday.