Nearly 18 when he signed out of Venezuela for $10,000 in 2012, Alzolay led the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League with a 1.07 ERA in his pro debut the following year. He had sporadic success the next three years before emerging as the Cubs' best prospect at the end of 2017. They hoped he would contribute in Chicago soon afterward but lat, side and biceps issues limited him to 120 1/3 innings during the next two years, including just 12 1/3 in the big leagues.
When he's healthy and keeps his mechanics in sync, Alzolay has a pair of plus pitches in his fastball and curveball. His heater sits at 92-96 mph and reaches 98 with running action, while his curveball parks in the low 80s with good depth. His changeup actually was his most effective pitch during his first taste of the Majors, though it's usually more of an average offering with ordinary life and deception.
Alzolay has a track record of throwing strikes but features some effort in his delivery that costs him command. That can be dangerous because he's an extreme fly-ball pitcher, and big league hitters tagged him for four homers in his brief stint last year. The Cubs praise his makeup and work ethic and still envision him cracking their rotation in the near future.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 60 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 50
A late bloomer in Venezuela, Alzolay was nearly 18 when he signed in 2012 and commanded just a $10,000 bonus. He led the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League with a 1.07 ERA in his 2013 pro debut yet didn't really break out until four years later, when he emerged as Chicago's best prospect by the end of 2017. The Cubs expected him to contribute at the big league level last year but he made just eight starts before his season ended with a lat injury.
Alzolay improved once he added strength and started doing a better job of using his legs in his delivery. He now operates at 92-96 mph and can hit 98 with running action on his fastball. His curveball has gotten quicker as well and now sits in the low 80s with good depth.
In order to succeed as a starter in the Majors, Alzolay will need to improve a changeup that stands out more for its life than its deception. He never has had any difficulty throwing strikes and has been able to avoid giving up home runs despite his extreme flyball tendencies. The Cubs praise his makeup and work ethic and believe he eventually can settle into the middle of their rotation.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 60 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 55 | Overall: 55
Eligible to sign out of Venezuela in July 2011, Alzolay didn't land a pro contract until 15 months later and earned just a $10,000 bonus. He led the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League with a 1.07 ERA in his 2013 pro debut, then did little to distinguish himself until last season, when he reached Double-A and looked like a future No. 3 starter. He entered 2018 as the Cubs' No. 1 prospect and seemed on the verge of helping the big league club, but he made just eight starts before getting shut down for the season in June with a lat injury.
Alzolay's stuff improved as he got stronger and starting doing a better job of incorporating his lower half in his delivery. He now deals at 92-96 mph and reaches 98 with his fastball, which has some running life to help keep it off barrels. His curveball isn't as reliable, but it's often a plus pitch with low-80s velocity and good depth.
Alzolay still is working on his changeup, which has more movement than deception and ultimately can become an average offering. He has pounded the strike zone sine signing and does a good job of avoiding home runs despite being a fly-ball pitcher. Chicago loves his makeup and his work ethic should help him reach his potential.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 55 | Overall: 50
Though he was eligible to sign out of Venezuela in July 2011, Alzolay didn't land a contract until November 2012. He led the Rookie-level Venezuelan Summer League in ERA (1.07), opponents' average (.201) and WHIP (0.88) in his 2013 pro debut. He mixed flashes of upside with inconsistency in his first three seasons in the United States before breaking out in high Class A this year.
Alzolay has gotten stronger and is doing a better job of using his lower half in his delivery, which has resulted in improved velocity. He's now operating with a 92-95 mph fastball as a starter, topping out at 97. He also gets some running action on his heater, which makes it difficult for hitters to barrel.
Alzolay's hard curveball has depth and shows signs of becoming at least a solid second offering. He's making strides with his changeup, though it still requires further refinement. He has thrown strikes throughout his pro career and could develop into a No. 3 starter.