On fast track, Alzolay attends rookie program

No. 3 Cubs prospect using legs more in delivery, developing changeup

January 9th, 2018

CHICAGO -- had a chance to extend his season by pitching in the Arizona Fall League last year. This month, the Cubs' pitching prospect took another step toward the big leagues by participating in Major League Baseball's Rookie Career Development Program. He got a little help from former Cubs prospect .
Alzolay, 22, ranked No. 3 among the Cubs' Top 30 prospects by MLB Pipeline, asked Torres, now with the Yankees, about the program.
"[Torres] said, 'This will be a good opportunity for you because you're going to learn about how to be in the big leagues your first year,'" Alzolay said of the rookie program, held in Leesburg, Va.

Alzolay is on the fast track to the big leagues. The right-hander went 7-1 with a 2.98 ERA in 15 starts at Class A Myrtle Beach last season and posted a 3.03 ERA in seven starts at Double-A Tennessee.
"If he reaches his potential, he will someday be one of the five [starters], and closer to [No. 1] than five," Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said of Alzolay, describing him as "an interesting high-ceiling starting pitcher."
When Alzolay was pitching in the AFL, he had two goals: to continue to work on using his legs more in his delivery, which Minor League pitching coach Anderson Tavarez recommended, and develop his changeup.

"This year was a good year for me," Alzolay said. "Since Spring Training, I was focused on incorporating my legs to my delivery. Through the whole year, I was doing that with my pitching coach in High [Class] A, Anderson Tavarez. We were working on that every single day to use my legs. I think that was the key to have a successful year."
The changeup may be key to whether the right-hander gets the call.
"I know if I want to start in the big leagues, I need to have that pitch," Alzolay said. "That pitch will make me a better pitcher."