Pedro Alvarez has hit 11 home runs in 72 MLB games. It does not sound like much because we live in a world that is full of rookies such as Jason Heyward, Buster Posey, Tyler Colvin, Mike Stanton, etc. who have spoiled us a little and force us to look past Alvarez’s improvements. When he first came up to the bigs, Alvarez really struggled. He did not hit a single long ball in his first 54 at-bats, but in just over 200 at-bats since then he has hit 11. Given all those factors asking for 25 home runs out of Alvarez in a full season in 2011 is not much at all.
The problem with Alvarez even recently as he has picked things up in the power department has been his batting average. For the season he is hitting .233, and while his early struggles contribute the most to that, the best month he’s had in terms of average was a .255 in July. The biggest reason for his struggles is a strikeout rate that rests at 38% on the season. While the strikeout rate has bounced around from month to month, Alvarez was worse than even his low standards as far as strikeouts in August when he struck out almost 42% of the time. It’s not a left/right thing either because he strikes out more than 35% against both types of pitchers. There is reason for optimism – Alvarez struck out a lot in the minors, but about 10% less than the amount he is striking out now.
The current month is early, but Alvarez is demonstrating a focus to improve upon his most glaring weakness as a hitter. If he finishes the season with a month in which he strikes out less than 30% of the time (a very tall task given where he’s been all year), his stock will rise considerably. Until then, the comparisons to Edwin Encarnacion may be fair.
- Compared to what Brett Wallace has gone through in Houston, Alvarez had it easy. After 90 at-bats, Wallace hit his first home run as an Astro yesterday.
- Cool stat from Rob Neyer. Joey Votto and Ryan Howard almost never hit infield pop ups.
- Say what you will about B.J. Upton, but yesterday he hit home run number 15 and swiped steal number 39. Among players with at least 35 steals, Upton and Carl Crawford are the only players with double digit home run totals as well.
- Things aren’t as peachy with brother Justin Upton. The Diamondbacks and Upton finally said enough was enough and he had an MRI on his ailing shoulder. B.J. needed surgery a few years ago, so hopefully things don’t turn out the same for Justin.
- Jim Thome homered for the third straight game.
- Jayson Werth was supposed to have a night off, but Domonic Brown was bothered by his quad, so Werth played.
- Jeremy Hermida was called up and started in the outfield for the A’s yesterday. Freddy Garcia left his start early with back problems. Carlos Silva struggled in his first start since early August. Hey, deep leagues care about this stuff.
- Billy Butler and Manny Ramirez both had to leave their teams games early. Neither player is likely to miss significant time, but one of these players is Manny Ramirez so don’t take anything for granted there.
- With all the talk about Albert Pujols taking the triple crown, don’t sleep on Carlos Gonzalez. He’s just 3 home runs away from a tie in that category and has the other two currently.
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