With the second pick in the draft this afternoon, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected Vanderbilt third baseman Pedro Alvarez. I got a chance to watch Alvarez play for Team USA a couple of summers ago, and he was as impressive as any amateur hitter I’ve ever seen. His stance and physique brought immediate comparisons to Albert Pujols, though he hit from the left side. The stroke was short and powerful, and while it’s a cliche, the ball jumped off his bat. He hit a ball off the right center field wall that night (off a left-handed pitcher, by the way) that got to the fence in about two seconds. He had homered earlier, pounding a ball 450+ feet, but it was that hit that made you jump out of your chair, because he just destroyed the baseball with his line drive swing. I was surprised the seams didn’t come off.
There were some good hitters in this draft, and while I’m sure the Rays did their homework in coming to the conclusion that Tim Beckham was the right selection for their organization, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we looked back in twelve months and scratched our heads about why there was a question of who the best hitter in this draft was. Pedro Alvarez is a monster at the plate, and he’s the kind of hitter that you can build a championship offense around. Pittsburgh hasn’t seen a hitter with this kind of ability since some guy named Bonds left for San Francisco.
Congratulations to the new regime in Pittsburgh for redeeming draft day, a day that had haunted Pirates fans for the last decade or so. Pedro Alvarez is no Bryan Bullington.
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