Expectations were pretty low for Pedro Alvarez coming into 2012. He had the pedigree of being the second overall draft pick in the 2008 draft, but he only hit four home runs (HR) and struck out (K%) over 30% of the time in 2011 bringing his stock way down. He was able to re-find find his power stroke in 2012 and it gave him some fantasy value.
A couple simple fantasy relevant facts are predictable with Alvarez
1. He has no speed. He has 2 stolen bases (SB) in 3 seasons. A total over 0 should be a plus for his fantasy owners.
2. He is going to strikeout nearly 30% of the time. Here are his K% from his first 3 seasons.
Besides those two predictable traits, the 25-year-old, left-handed hitter was supposed to hit for power. In 2010, he hit for decent power with a 18% HR/FB% and a .205 ISO. Then 2011 came along. The HR/FB% dropped to 10% and the ISO decrease to .098. Weak hitting, high K% players don’t last long in any league.
He turned it around 2012. Here are a few of the major improvements:
|Season||HR/FB||FB%||IFFB%||ISO||FB&HR Dist (ft)|
Three major factors point to his turn around in 2012. First, he had a quad injury that bothered him for most of the year. He got the injury in early May and missed two months of the season because of it.
But enough with the technical stuff. The real reason Hurdle is happy with Alvarez’s swing is that the Pirates are seeing more of it. Alvarez didn’t bother to take the bat off his shoulder last year more times than Hurdle cares to remember.
“There was just a high percentage of called strikes for the longest period of time, from last season and early on this season,” Hurdle said. “Last season, in 33 percent of his at-bats (actually 28 percent), he hit from an 0-2 count. That’s not a formula for success for anybody.”
I looked a little further myself and found that in 2011, he swung at 0-0 pitches 30% of the time. In 2012, that number jumped to 41%. He was definitely more aggressive at the plate this past season.
For 2013, I expect Pedro Alvarez to have a year similar to 2012. The high K%, will limit his AVG to probably a max around 0.260. If Alvarez can maintain the changes he made for 2012, his power numbers will stay the same or even improve as he ages.