I answered some questions for the SB Nation Rockies blog Purple Row earlier this week, and one of the questions that arose was about the ceiling of the Pirates' Pedro Alvarez - what's the best career he's reasonably likely to have? I'm of the opinion that even in close to a best-case scenario, Alvarez is unlikely to stick at third for very long, and he's already quite slow. So I compared him to lumbering first base / designated hitter types who could really hit, like Mo Vaughn and David Ortiz:â†µ
A star power hitter who finishes his career as a huge dude with no defensive value, basically. Alvarez looks likely to be a good major leaguer, but there are a wide spectrum of outcomes for his career ... Also, he has to work on controlling the strike zone. He'll always be a high-strikeout hitter, which is fine, but last year he had 119 strikeouts in 386 plate appearances. He's also very streaky and has long stretches where he looks lost at the plate, and hopefully this season (he has eight strikeouts in five games so far) doesn't mark the beginning of another one.â†µ
The problem with Alvarez's strikeouts is that he can only pile up so many before they start to eat away at his batting average. I would much rather have a David Ortiz type of hitter than an Adam Dunn type (not that Adam Dunn would be a horrible outcome for Alvarez's career) or, worse, a Mark Reynolds type. Alvarez has largely looked lost this season, but he's known to be a slow starter; hopefully he can get things going.