There has been a lot of talk about Pedro Alvarez, so I wanted to share my thoughts from the other day that I posted over at bullpenbanter.com. Also, if your looking to contribute at the site, feel free to contact us at Submit@bullpenbanter.com.
The latest call up during June’s annual prospect frenzy, number two overall selection in 2008, Pedro Alvarez was prolific in the minor leagues. But, he will have to make adjustments to his game (again) before he is the savior of Pittsburgh.
You see, at every level Alvarez has struggled before breaking out as most predicted given his pedigree. After signing late (really late) in August of 2008, he began his professional career at Lynchberg in April. Prior to heading to Virginia, there was a mini scandal in spring training because he reported to Bradenton out of shape.This may have been a problem for Alvarez as he batted just .219/.341/.397 in April. He quickly responded to the growing pool of his critics in May by posting line, .270/.351/.520, which still was considered by some to be sub-par for a player of his caliber. June was slightly better (.254/.333/.552) because of an increase in homeruns. Despite his struggles the Pittsburgh Front Office lead by Neal Huntington surprisingly decided to promote Alvarez to AA with the Altoona Curve. He finished the month of June poorly before exploding into the prospect that wound up ranking 12th on our pre-season list. The third baseman ended with an elite showing in July (.352/.406/.571) and August (.368/.485/.651).
Coming into 2010 Alvarez was living up to the hype that his draft status would suggest he deserved. In AAA he brought his game to the next level, but not before struggling to begin the season in the International League. Once again his April line was subpar, .226/.301/.429 but then Alvarez did two remarkable things prior to his call up. First, he posted an OPS above 1.000 in both May (.300/.404/.622) and June (.327/.403/.600). Secondly, he posted a monster reverse platoon split. One of Alvarez’s faults was supposed to be his inability to hit lefties. Well, his 1.073 OPS against them is a huge adjustment over his 2009 OPS of .714.
The savior of Pittsburgh has once again got off to a slow start with Pittsburgh. He is striking out a ton and has just one hit, a double, in the early at-bats of his career(through 6/20). Though, if the top third base prospect in baseball has shown us anything, it is that he will make an adjustment and when he does, watch out.