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Thursday, December 28, 2023

Mike Alvarez turned from pitching to long career as coach

Mike Alvarez 1990 Baseball City Royals card

Released by the Orioles in his second pro season in 1981, Mike Alvarez signed on with the Royals and looked forward to showing what he could do, The Miami Herald wrote.

"This organization has a lot of good pitching, but it also recognizes when someone does a good job," Alvarez told The Herald that next August in 1982. "I think they'll give me a fair shake, and in the minors that's all you can ask for."

Alvarez eventually pitched well enough for the Royals to make AAA. But the organization eventually recognized Alvarez could do a good job elsewhere, as a coach. 

After a pro career that lasted five seasons, Alvarez has gone on to a long minor league coaching career with the Royals, Braves and, into 2023, with the Tigers.

Alvarez' baseball career began in 1980, signed by the Orioles out of Louisiana State University. 

He started with the Orioles at single-A Miami, then moved to the Royals and single-A Fort Myers for 1981. He made AA Jacksonville in 1982 and went 9-0, with a 2.34 ERA over 24 outings, five starts.

Alvarez saw AAA Omaha briefly in 1983, then for 28 outings, two starts in 1984. He went 5-2, with a 4.44 ERA to end his playing career.

Alvarez soon turned pitching coach with the Royals at single-A Appleton in 1987. He coached at high-A Baseball City in 1990, then AA Memphis in 1991 and AAA Omaha for five seasons starting in 1993.

With Memphis at the close of 1991, Alvarez assessed pitcher Archie Corbin's prospects as a short reliever.

"He needs to be meaner," Alvarez told The Memphis Commercial Appeal of Corbin. "I don't mean he has to look meaner, he just has to become meaner within himself."

Alvarez moved to the Braves and AA Greenville for 1998. He stayed with the Braves through 2016 as a coach and roving instructor.

In 2003, at Greenville, Alvarez spoke to The Greenville News about the importance of pitchers having an off-speed pitch, not just velocity.

"It's like that one guy who can hit a 500-foot home run that everybody gets excited about. It's something that's usually out of the ordinary," Alvarez told The News. "But even for the guys who throw at a high velocity, a lot of them have changeups - especially if they're starters."

Alvarez moved to the Tigers system in 2017, serving as pitching coach in the rookie Gulf Coast League. In 2023, he served as manager in the successor Florida Complex League.

Mike Alvarez 1990 Baseball City Royals card

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,283
Made the Majors:1,390-32.5%
Never Made Majors:2,893-67.5%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:565
10+ Seasons in the Minors:347

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