Fantasy owners were excited when Pedro Alvarez made his Major League debut in 2010. Third base was (and is still is, to an extent) a weaker position and Alvarez boasted significant power potential. Unfortunately, in 2011 things fell completely flat with a sub-.200 average and needing to spend time at Triple-A.
That leads us to 2012, where fantasy owners entered the year with caution. Could he correct his issues and produce as we had once hoped? When you look at his numbers, to an extent you would say that he did:
525 At Bats
.244 Batting Average (128 Hits)
30 Home Runs
1 Stolen Bases
.317 On Base Percentage
.467 Slugging Percentage
Obviously Alvarez produced the power that fantasy owners were looking for, though that’s not to say that it is even a given that he can replicate that output. With a 25.0% HR/FB, Alvarez ranked fourth in the league. Granted an increase in the number of fly balls he hits (he was at 34.5% last season) would help offset the drop but that could have an impact on his average, something that was already a concern.
That is always going to be your biggest problem with Alvarez. If he starts swinging for the fences even more, it puts an already low average at significant risk. When you consistently strikeout at a high level, it is hard to expect big averages. Just look at what he has done over his three year career:
- 2010 – 30.8%
- 2011 – 30.5%
- 2012 – 30.7%
That is consistently bad, meaning how can we expect him to suddenly correct the issue? Last season his best month was 27.1%, so it is not like he showed us any reason for optimism. Just to add a little bit more fuel to the fire, in 367 AB at Triple-A he struck out 110 times. It’s just hard to go into 2013 expecting anything but more of the same.
The fact of the matter is there is a better chance of him hitting .220 than .260, especially with the added concern of him trying to hit for more power.
Throw in the fact that the bottom of the Pirates lineup is far from imposing, so while there will be RBI opportunities he isn’t going to score many runs, and there are more than enough reasons to be highly concerned. In fact, here my current projection for the 2013 campaign:
.238 (168-590), 27 HR, 80 RBI, 60 R, 1 SB, .294 BABIP, .315 OBP, .450 SLG
Could Alvarez post big numbers? Could he exceed these projections? Absolutely, though I wouldn’t be banking on it. The power is clearly there, but with that comes certain risks (especially when you take the high number of strikeouts into account). For him to have the potential to hit for this low of an average, he needs to be Adam Dunn to make us really covet him. While it’s possible he develops into that, drafting him depending on that would be a mistake (though if he slips down draft boards, the gamble becomes a lot more palatable).