As you may well know, I am somewhat fixated on Pedro Alvarez. It is rare to see a top prospect come so very close to wearing the “bust” tag only to suddenly figure things out at the big league level. Then slump badly again. Pedro Alvarez was something of a punchline, a player who started the season so slowly it made for great sport.
For all his ups and downs, Pedro Alvarez is putting together a respectable offensive season. His .331 wOBA and wRC+ are both decent enough and his 19 home runs rank him fifth in the National League, second among all big league third basemen.Though his strikeouts and walks are very reminiscent of his 2010 rookie campaign, Alvarez is driving the ball with much more authority, putting up career highs in ISO and slugging percentage. Given the current run environment of the baseball world, Alvarez rates as an above-average hitter for the contending Pirates.
How did Pedro Alvarez, once so far below average at the plate that his future was very much in doubt, become an above average hitter? By riding out the streaks and getting back up when he’s down. His great May gave way for a June swoon but Alvarez made some adjustments and bounced back.
Using the same rolling 10 day wOBA method as before (with a hearty assist from Fangraphs’ Guts), we can see Alvarez’s streaks visualized in glorious chart form. Just what you need on a Friday afternoon!
Back from the dead, so to speak. Pedro isn’t exactly an on base machine and has just ten more singles than home runs but this progress, right? He isn’t a total stiff, nor is his job in jeopardy. Pedro Alvarez is contributing to a competitive baseball team. Alvarez’s numbers are very strong in high leverage situations, meaning Pedro Alvarez even helps out when it matters most!
At 25, Alvarez is nearing his physical peak with some positive signs for the future. He is putting the bat on the ball more than ever and good things happen when a powerful man like El Toro squares it up. Alvarez even knocked some #weirdmeat to the opposite field, with three OPPO TACOS in 2012, triple his career output the other way. For the first time in his career, Pedro Alvarez has a little momentum. It is a nice thing to see for Pirates fans and fans of mercurial athletes the world over.