Pedro Alvarez is, right now, a bad baseball player. Pedro Alvarez has spent most of his big league career as a bad baseball player. Try as they might, the Pirates cannot seem to make Pedro Alvarez into a good Major League baseball player. They really need him to be a good Major League baseball player, because the Pirates gave him a lot of money as the second overall pick in the 2008 draft. A lofty bonus and a Major League contract, too. It was all very un-Pirates and, of course, it hasn’t worked out.
So far in 2012, Pedro Alvarez owns one of the worst slash lines you could ever imagine: .108/.132/.270. He is 4-37 with one walk and two home runs. It is terrible. His .175 wOBA is an unsightly blight on the leaderboards of the world.
With the help of the newly-published linear weights (from Fangraphs) we can toy with numbers like weighted on-base average and make them our own. Using this knowledge, want to try and fix Pedro Alvarez. Not really fix him, but tinker with his numbers to bring them up to snuff.
Pedro Alvarez is so far behind the pack offensively, it is going to take a real jump start to get him back to league average. What kind of a jump start, you ask? How about consecutive home runs? Just start mashing taters until he gets to league average.
How many consecutive home runs would it take for Pedro Alvarez to become an average big league hitter? What about the best hitter in baseball? The results might shock you!
Not really. It is early enough in the season that, even for Pedro Alvarez, one single “best game of his life” elevates him to league average status. All the struggling Pirates third baseman needs to do is hit three straight home runs and boom: he’s a league average hitter with a .315 wOBA. Simple!
Send Alvarez on a Carlos Delgado/Shawn Green/Mark Whiten-esque four homer jaunt and he’s a deadly hitter, posting a .358 wOBA that equals him with team leader Andrew McCutchen.
If Pedro Alvarez wants to chase down league wOBA leader Matt Kemp and eclipse his .595 mark, Alvarez simply must hit eleven consecutive home runs without making an out. Seems simple enough!
This is wholly unreasonable. No way can Pedro Alvarez hit eleven straight home runs. What if he hits eleven home runs in his next 44 plate appearances? Still an incredible hot streak but not from the realm of the fantastic like eleven straight homers. If Alvarez hits .250/.250/4.00, his wOBA climbs all the way to .362. That is downright frightening.
If Pedro Alvarez goes straight crazy over the next 44 plate appearances, hitting eleven home runs and walking eleven times (with no other hits), his wOBA will improve to a sterling .454 – equal to the mighty Derek Jeter, no less!
All of this is to suggest that Pedro Alvarez is impossibly bad right now. The Pirates tried changing his swing and telling him the job was his – he just cannot hit. Might he at some point in the future? Sure. But now? Yuck. Such is life as a Pirates fan – no good deed goes unpunished.