Thursday, May 23, 2013
Update on Alvarez
By Jason A. Churchill
The Pittsburgh Pirates are 23-17 after pn the season, but have done so on good pitching. The club's offense has struggled, posting a .242 batting average in 46 games, good for No. 12 in the National League. The Bucs also rank No. 10 in on-base percentage, offsetting their respectable No. 8 ranking in slugging. One of the problematic spots in the order is occupied by third baseman Pedro Alvarez.
Alvarez has eight home runs and hit 30 of them a year ago, but he's batting .193 on the season and he's struck out 49 times against just 11 walks. Perhaps more worrisome is the fact that the former No. 2 overall pick has recorded just one double in 153 plate appearances. Such struggles usually indicate the batter is hitting a few mistakes, but is otherwise over matched.
Alvarez currently ranks No. 16 among 17 qualified MLB third basemen in batting average and No. 15 in on-base percentage. Despite the eight long balls, the one double handcuffs Alvarez's slugging percentage to just .371, No. 13 among the 17 qualified third basemen.
If the club can stay afloat long enough for Alvarez to get going, all is well. If they stay in it through the all-star break despite Alvarez's struggles, GM Neal Huntington could look to the trade market where names such as Michael Young, Conor Gillaspie, Alberto Callaspo or Josh Donaldson could become available if their respective clubs are not contending.