Since what seems like the Dawn of Time, or just since 2008, Pedro Alvarez has been dubbed a savior of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. Up until this year – with a few bright spots in between - it was looking like Alvarez was a red herring.
After a good rookie season in which he batted .256 with 16 home runs, Alvarez followed up with what appears to be a terrible case of the “sophomore slump.”
In 74 games last year for the Pirates, Alvarez hit .191 with only four home runs while striking out in 30.5% of his plate appearances.
This year, following last night’s monster 4-for-5, two-homer game, Alvarez leads National League third basemen with 25 home runs, putting him currenlty three ahead of San Diego’s Chase Headley.
Pedro has elevated every aspect of his play this season thus far. Alvarez on the year is hitting .247/.327/.484 with 67 RBI.
2012 hasn’t been all bright spots, however. Occasionally Pedro’s well seems to have run dry when he enters mini-slumps. But when he has been on, he is most certainly one of the most dangerous players on the Pirates and in Major League Baseball.
Over the past couple of weeks Alvarez has looked more calm, which seems to be helping immensely with his plate patience and his pitch recognition. With the increased patience and recognition Alvarez is seeing an increased number of free passes come his way.
Alvarez’ defense is always overshadowed by his bat. Criticized by many for not playing winter ball, Pedro has also shown a vast improvement in range and reaction making him no longer a liability to field his position.
Hopefully the fading power of Zoltan can reemerge with this Pirates baseball club to push back into one of the wild card spots. Two people will be key to this push, one of them of course being Andrew McCutchen, the other being Pedro Alvarez. If he continues his good play, look out.