Mandy Alvarez taking advantage of opportunity with RailRiders

MOOSIC, Pa. – It wasn’t as heroic as Tuesday night’s walk-off, but Mandy Alvarez made just as much of an impact Wednesday morning against the Indianapolis Indians as he did less than 24 hours earlier.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders third baseman collected a pair of doubles and snapped Indians starting pitcher Alex McRae‘s no-hit bid in the bottom of the seventh inning.

While the RailRiders snapped their seven-game winning streak Wednesday, falling 4-2, Alvarez was able to keep his streak intact. The 24-year-old secured his third straight game with multiple hits.

Mandy Alvarez has quietly put together a solid minor league career and has been under-the-radar on many prospect lists. (Matt Bufano)

“I’ve enjoyed him a lot,” RailRiders manager Jay Bell said. “He’s a guy that I’ve had a lot of time with over the last three years. I’ve had him in A-ball, in Double-A and now Triple-A. He’s a trustworthy guy. He knows how to compete out there. He loves to figure out ways to beat his opponent. He swung it great again today. His intensity – he has a knack for putting the barrel on the ball.”

With Gio Urshela, the RailRiders’ opening day third baseman, up in New York and excelling for the Yankees, Alvarez has done an impressive job filling in, in his absence.

Alvarez is batting a career-high .309 in 27 games. But more impressive, the Triple-A rookie is batting .457 this month, which includes hits in all eight May games.

Even though the home run numbers haven’t been there for Alvarez, who only has one this season after hitting 13 in 2018, he’s still hitting for power. Eleven of his 30 hits are doubles.

“It’s extremely pleasing for us to see Gio having the success he’s having up in New York,” Bell said. “What has been allowed to happen is Mandy’s come here and had success on his own, and to realize he can compete at this level. I’m thrilled that he’s doing as well as he is.”

Alvarez credits this hot start to the confidence he brings to the ballpark every day.

Mandy Alvarez (Matt Bufano)

After batting .256 between Double-A Trenton and High-A Tampa last season, Alvarez brought a renewed sense of hope into his first Triple-A campaign. And it’s shown.

“I knew from Day 1 I could hit here,” Alvarez said. “There wasn’t a doubt in my mind. I knew when I was 18 years old I could do it anywhere. It was just believing it, you know? You’re 0-for-2 on the day, instead of going up there, ‘Oh, shoot. I’m 0-for-2.’ You go up there with a different mindset for that at-bat. Win that at-bat. Leave the rest in the past. Just move on. It’s just really learning how to move on pitch-to-pitch, at-bat to at-bat.”

That short-term mentality was put on display Wednesday.

Alvarez was 0-for-2 after his first two at-bats against McRae. The RailRiders as a whole were hitless.

When Alvarez stepped up to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, he put all of those struggles behind him and laced a double to the wall in left field.

“I wasn’t shocked that I got a hit my third at-bat. It was just the way I was thinking,” Alvarez said. “It’s just the thought process, the mentality, the way you go about it, the way you go in the box. It has been nothing mechanical. Just changing the way I think, just about it.”

While there’s still a bit of a logjam between Alvarez and the majors, with Gio Urshela playing so well for the Yankees, Miguel Andujar back from the injured list and Tyler Wade rejoining Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the RailRiders third baseman still has a chance to play his way onto the Yankees roster at some point this season.

Just take Nestor Cortes for example.

The southpaw was returned to the Yankees organization after being selected in the Rule 5 Draft two winters ago and went undrafted in this past December. But he was added to the 40-man roster and promoted to the bigs on Wednesday.

Even RailRiders first baseman Mike Ford received his first promotion to the bigs earlier this season after spending the last three seasons in Triple-A.

“The guy has a unique ability to figure things out, to figure how to get the job done,” Bell said of Alvarez. “He’s a guy that’s always flown under the radar, but nonetheless, he’s a guy that always wills himself to have success. You never know. Those are the guys that kind of fly under the radar, and all of the sudden they get to the big leagues and you think, ‘Where did this guy come from?’ And he has an excellent little career.”

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