Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, it’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for.... The Call up of the one, the only, YORDAN ALVAREZ!!!
The Astros are calling up Yordan Alvarez from Triple A ahead of tomorrow's game, sources tell The Athletic.— Jake Kaplan (@jakemkaplan) June 9, 2019
(Announced by Jake Kaplan - we will confirm as more sources come in)
Although at this point, he needs little to no introduction, here’s some quick scouting reports on the man himself:
“Alvarez boasts a powerful lefty swing with improved loft and more than enough strength to muscle balls out to the opposite field. He has a keen eye in the box and has done well working counts and finding pitches to drive across the zone, utilizing the whole field. The big-bodied corner stick can get too passive at times, however, forcing himself to work from behind and expand the zone with his weakest contact coming on rolled-over grounders versus the soft stuff. Still, his approach is impressively advanced for a player of his age and with his level of reps, and the overall developmental trajectory bodes well for his future as a potential impact bat at the big-league level.” - 2080Baseball
John Sickles gave him a B+ with this to say: “looks like a pure hitter to me, one who makes adjustments well and should provide high batting averages and OBPs; with 6-5, 225 frame more power should come too; doesn’t run well enough to play center field and arm fits best in left but he should be a competent outfield defender and played errorless ball in 26 games at first base; grade assumes more power will come. ETA late 2019.”
AstrosFuture and Spencer had this to say: “The Astros got a steal in Alvarez when they acquired him from the Dodgers in a trade for Josh Fields. Alvarez had a breakout 2017 and continued to see his stock as a prospect rise in 2018. He got off to a great start hitting .299 with 8 2B, 6 HR, 26 RBI in his first 27 games but then missed about a month dealing with a hand injury. He came back in mid June and finished his time in AA hitting .325 with 12 HR, 46 RBI and 168 wRC+ in 45 games. He was promoted to AAA where he had a .801 OPS with 8 HR in 43 games (111 wRC+). Overall he had a 139 wRC+ as a 21 year old between AA and AAA. Alvarez is huge (6’5″, 225 lbs) but actually moves around really well. The Astros continue to play Alvarez and left and praise his work there, but many do project him to first base or DH. He has monster power and has improved his plate discipline. He was ranked the #34 prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America, but outside the top 100 by FanGraphs, demonstrating a wide range of opinions throughout the industry. Getting to his prodigious power more readily in games will be the biggest focus for Alvarez in the short term, alongside his enigmatic defense.”
Although Yordan has always been an excellent hitter, in 2019, he took it to an entirely new level. He is hitting .343/.443/.742 for an other wordly 1.185 OPS, which is good for 75% ABOVE LEAGUE AVERAGE IN AAA!!
He has smashed the league, hitting 23 HR’s in 213 AB - which is equal to 1 out of every 9 AB he’s hitting one out of the park.
Defensively, Yordan is limited playing LF, 1B but primarily as a DH. In AAA this year while “working on his defense”, Alvarez played 25 of his games in LF (44.6%), 2 Games in Right (3.5%), 9 Games at 1B (16%), and 20 games at DH (35.7%) - and that doesn’t account for games where he was pulled from the field early for defensive reasons.
What to Expect
For him to make Mike Trout look like a AAA player of course.
In reality, we should lower our expectations just slightly. Vlad Guerrero Jr., one of the most renowned prospects in recent history struggled upon his entry to the majors. His triple slash after 53 PA came in at a below mendoza level .191/.283/.234. That OPS of .517 is well below Adam Everett’s career .640 line - which should put a lot in perspective. After striking out 139 times in his 1,075 AB in the minors (12.9%) - he struck out a much more mortal 25.5% in his first taste in the majors.
This is not to say he is guaranteed to struggle, simply to say, let’s hold back from the high expectations everyone has based on the offensive juggernaut he’s been this season. There’s numerous examples of stars struggling in their first glimpse, even as recently as Alex Bregman for us.
Ehh, screw it. Let’s be excited. The day is finally here!!
It’s a great time to be an Astros fan.