No matter who the Astros bring in from free agency. No matter who they trade for. No matter if they re-sign George Springer or Michael Brantley. No matter what, the Astros NEED Yordan Álvarez back in the lineup in 2021. But not any Yordan Álvarez, but the best Yordan Álvarez.
The young Cuban star, who unanimously won the AL Rookie of the Year last year, was a major influence on the offensive order in 2019 and, sadly, miss almost all 2020 season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on both knees in August. He only played in two games, got two hits in eight at-bats, including a three-run home run.
With the best and healthiest version of Álvarez back in the lineup, the Astros can win. Do you have an idea of how influential or valuable he was to the team in his rookie year? I know Houston was a very different team, and maybe even more powerful, back in 2019, but there are numbers that you just can't ignore.
When Yordan homered last year, the Astros had a 16-5 record. But, hey, it doesn’t stop there. It gets BETTER. When he registered at least an RBI, the team won 34 of 42 games (81.0%). When he recorded two or more RBIs, the squad’s record was 15-4. But even better: When the 23-year-old got at least three hits, the Astros went 8-1.
Whenever he found teammates on base, guess what? He crushed as well: .323/.422/.623 with 10 home runs and 61 runs batted in. When he hit with runners in scoring position, it was even better for him: .344/.427/.677, along with 13 doubles and six four-baggers.
You see? Yordan performed at insane levels during the year of his debut, that’s why he beat guys like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Eloy Jiménez on the run for the Rookie of the Year distinction.
Even though we haven’t had any update on Álvarez’s rehab, there’s no reason to believe he won’t be ready to have a normal spring training in ‘21. At the time he underwent surgery, the team said he was expected to come back at full health and have a normal regular season.
What we all are hoping is his knees will finally let him play at least as a full-time designated hitter. But, as I said above, the Astros need him back, especially if there’s no Springer in their offensive order next year.