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Buying High on Pedro Alvarez

If you had the patience to stick with Pedro Alvarez or the wherewithal to acquire him during his huge early season slump, you have been amply rewarded for your decision over Alvarez’s last month of play. The question is whether this performance will continue.

I think we can all be in agreement that he will not hit .312 as he has over the past 30 days. He probably also will not lead the league in RBI for the remainder of the year either. However, that does not mean he is a worthwhile candidate to move after his big power month. I would rather hold onto Alvarez and keep the 26-year-old’s power in my lineup as there is a non-zero chance that he ends up leading the NL in home runs.

There are things we all wish Alvarez did, most notably take more walks and strikeout less. While more of you would rather him hit for a higher average, that is just not something Alvarez is really capable of. He is capable of getting his walk rate north of 10% and if he did so, he would be able to bump his OBP up to a more respectable level that, coupled with his power, would make him one of the premier offensive third basemen in the league.

I like the ZiPs projection on Alvarez a lot, I think expecting a .311 OBP – obviously not great but serviceable given the offensive environment of baseball the past few years – and another 17 homers is great. The issue with the .311 OBP is that it comes with a .237 average, which hurts a good deal if you are still in leagues that use average. ZiPs basically has his ISO dropping around .045 points and everything else staying more or less the same. To me that is an incredibly valuable player and I think there are a number of owners in leagues that are more than willing to move Alvarez given his current torrid stretch.

I have said this a decent amount this year, but if a player is willing to sell a player high then they are usually willing to take less value than what the player is actually worth at that time. They think a player can be worth “x” but are willing to take “y” because everyone knows he is on a hot stretch. I love to take advantage of owners willing to move players on hot stretches that don’t seem like random blips on the radar. We have seen Alvarez hit for massive power in the past and that’s really what he’s doing now with a ton of BABIP luck as well. That won’t continue, but the season long numbers certainly can I want to be the owner who adds another 17 homers and 50 RBI from my 3B slot. You should want that also if you are struggling at that position, corner infield, or the utility slot.