Former FAU baseball player RJ Alvarez called up by Padres


RJ Alvarez was selected with the 114th pick in the MLB Draft. He is shown here pitching during his final year with the Owls. Photo by Christine Capozziello

With a simple phone call, the San Diego Padres changed the life of former FAU pitcher RJ Alvarez, calling the Royal Palm Beach native up to join Major League Baseball.

Alvarez joins a Padres pitching rotation that has yet to find a viable fifth option in the bullpen. Plenty of young players get their first major league experience in September.

With the regular season coming to a close, teams wanted to see the type of talent that they have in their respective minor league systems.

In 2012, his final season with the FAU Owls, Alvarez went 5-0 a posted a 0.76 earned run average. He is the eighth of John McCormack’s former players to reach the major leagues.

After being drafted by the Anaheim Angels in the third round of the 2012 MLB Draft, Alvarez started his professional baseball career with the Cedar Rapids Kernels, in the Midwest League.

“This is a fantastic day for RJ, his family and FAU baseball,” McCormack said in a press release. “I am extremely happy for him and proud of what he has accomplished. I know this is only the first step and we all look forward to watching his Major League career blossom.”

Alvarez worked his way up through the minor league system and was traded to the San Diego Padres on July 19. He played for the San Antonio Missions — the Padres’ AA affiliate — for just over a month before receiving the call that fulfilled his lifelong dream.

“It’s just awesome,” Alvarez said in the same press release, making sure to thank his college pitching coach. “Once you get that call, it’s pretty surreal. I learned a lot at FAU. I faced a lot of good hitters and I matured a lot. Coach [Justin] Jackson really made me more consistent as a pitcher.”