When Will Pedro Alvarez Be Ready?

When should Alvarez return?

There have been a lot of calls for Pedro Alvarez to get the call to the majors.  Some of those calls have been because he’s been hot lately, mostly fueled by a 9-for-12 stretch in three games early in the week.  Another reason for the calls is due to the lack of a strong third base option in the majors, with Chase d’Arnaud hitting for a .215/.240/.280 line in 93 at-bats, and Brandon Wood not doing much better, with a .209/.275/.344 line in 163 at-bats.

The Pirates need Pedro Alvarez.  There’s no debating that.  But they need the Pedro Alvarez that we saw glimpses of last year, when he put up a .280/.348/.493 line in 207 at-bats in August and September, along with nine homers.  Is that what they can expect from Alvarez now, based on his AAA numbers?

The good news is that Alvarez is hitting.  He’s got a .339/.441/.500 line in 56 at-bats.  Most of that is fueled by that 9-for-12 run in three games at the start of the week.  In that stretch, he hit both of his homers in AAA this year.  The bad news is that Alvarez is striking out too much.  He has 17 strikeouts in 56 at-bats, for a 30.4% strikeout rate.  A lot of those strikeouts came in a three game series, occurring right before his hot streak.  Alvarez struck out 7 times in 11 at-bats in a three game stretch, immediately before his 9-for-12 run at the plate.

In the last two weeks, we’ve seen Alvarez go on a three game run where he struck out seven out of eleven times, followed by a three game stretch where he went 9-for-12 with two homers.  So which one is the real deal, and which one is the fluke?  Should we be worried about the strikeouts, and chalk his hitting up to a weaker class of talent?  Or should we focus on the hitting, and disregard the strikeouts as long as the production is there?

It should be noted that, since the previously mentioned six games, Alvarez has played three more games, going 2-for-10 with four strikeouts.  However, Scott McCauley noted last night that Alvarez squared up on two balls, and looked the best he’s looked in the field.  Obviously there are some encouraging signs, but I think we’re still in the “small sample size” range for his overall numbers.  In the last week we’ve seen him look absolutely horrible in a three game stretch, and look absolutely dominant in a three game stretch.  I’d like to give him at least another week to prove which version of Pedro Alvarez was the real deal.  The team might need production at third base in the short term, but in the long term, the team needs Alvarez to get back on track and realize his potential.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_F32X3U3MVTF3BJHVHHIV3Z34AA Paul Newmeyer

    How many more days until the Pirates lose the option?  I say bring him up definitely before that time frame, as long as he isn’t hitting below .222 or something like that.   They should see if he is able to rebound before the trading deadline as well.  If he comes up and falls flat on his face they may need to pull the trigger on a big deal.  If he is the Pedro from the end of 2010 they won’t be held at gunpoint to make a big move.   Other clubs know they are desperate for offense and a productive Pedro could weaken their demands from the Bucs. 

  • Anonymous

    if the pirates get swept by the cards he will be up going into atlanta, also if he is hitting hr and has a high slugging % than the high k rate can be delt with.

  • Anonymous

    I’d leave Pedro in AAA until his solidifies his stroke and has a run of games where his K-rate falls somewhere between 15% and 20% and he hits the ball hard more often than not.

    I got MiLB TV to watch Pedros progress and he seems to be taking pitches to left and left-center more than he had earlier in the season. His swing looks quick and fluid, and he’s not guessing wrong on pitches on the outside corner. This, I believe, is progress. But he has to make this progress a habit.

    • Lee Young

      Steve…..thx for the ‘visual’ update.

      I agree with what you’ve said, also. I am tired of Kdro….I want Pedro.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MMVXVAVIASV5TRMSOGDQ6SWJBA R

    Bring him up.  He is what he is.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MMVXVAVIASV5TRMSOGDQ6SWJBA R

    Call up Pedro and trade 4 Carlos Pena and Josh Willingham.   We can platoon Steve Pearce at 1b and move Tabata to rf against southpaws and bench Presley. Josh Willingham will then play LF against southpaws.   Against rhp Presley in RF  Tabata or Willingham in LF Carlos Pena at 1b and Pedro Alvarez at 3b.  Lets Go Bucs!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OGCKUSO5MA5VUCJHW2YSJ2K3TM Bob

      stupid idea, sorry.  

  • F Lang

    I’ve heard a lot of Carlos Pena referrences but he is hitting .220 and is on a pace for close to 200 K’s and is hitting .127 vs. lefties. (10-79) I wouldn’t give up prospects for a guy that is worse than Garrett Jones.  I feel like they have to get pedro up soon. Especially while he is hot. Brandon Wood has been ok and I love his defense but the Pirates are gonna need Pedro’s bat if they are going to win the division.

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