Watch: Adbert Alzolay Records First MLB Strikeout
MLB debuts are always exciting, but there’s a little extra importance when you’re talking about a Cubs pitcher. Not that position players aren’t fun, it’s just that this organization has had such noted struggles when it comes to developing arms.
That doesn’t end with Adbert Alzolay’s arrival, but the 24-year-old righty sure can do a lot to change the narrative. He entered Thursday’s game to relieve Tyler Chatwood in the 4th and wasted no time getting right to work. His 95-96 mph fastball showed excellent life and movement, though it took him a little while to settle down and keep it in the zone.
The curve was sharp as well, bending in there anywhere from 78-81, but it was the changeup that really showed out. That’s the pitch Alzolay has worked on the hardest over the last two seasons and it’s probably what will determine whether his future is in the rotation or the bullpen.
If Michael Conforto is any indicator, the change will most definitely play. After getting a called strike on the curve, Alzolay went to his firm change for another called strike. At 85 mph, his offspeed offering comes in harder than the curve but has similar movement as it tumbles. Another change dropped away out of the zone, then Conforto fouled off a two-seam.
That’s when Alzolay came back with another change, his third of the AB, to get the swinging strike for his first big league K. So pretty.
Adbert Alzolay's first MLB strikeout is a whiff via a changeup against Conforto to end the top of the 5th inning. pic.twitter.com/SIjWuAduL9
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) June 21, 2019