It is clear that the most significant roadblock standing between Pedro Alvarez and elite level offense is his issue making contact. In his rookie season, Alvarez struck out in 119 of his 386 plate appearances, a rate high enough to be a legitimate concern. He made contact on less than 70% of his swings, one of the ten worst contact rates among players with 300+ plate appearances in 2010. Let’s head to the Pitch f/x database to see if we can determine a particular pitch or location that was giving him problems.
Here are the pitch locations for every pitch that Alvarez offered at in 2010. As a reminder, this is from the catcher’s point of view. I added an approximate strike zone. Black dots represent pitches Alvarez made contact with, including foul balls. Red dots indicate pitches that led to a swing-and-a-miss.
There does not seem to be much of interest here. As expected, Alvarez generally came up empty on pitches well outside the strike zone....
Matt has covered the Pirates at Wait ‘Til Next Year, Pittsburgh Lumber Co. and now Pirates Prospects. He served as Pirates team expert for Heater Magazine in 2009 and 2010 and has contributed to Graphical Player 2009, 2010 and 2011. Matt was also the editor of the 2011 and 2012 Pirates Prospects Annuals.