In the Houston Astros franchise history, there have been only four players with at least one 40-homer season, something that has happened only seven times thus far. Can Yordan Álvarez join that elite list in 2021?
Those four players are Alex Bregman, Lance Berkman, Richard Hidalgo, and Jeff Bagwell, who owns the season-high for any Astros’ hitter (47). The Hall of Famer did it three times in his career (1997, 1999, 2000) while Berkman did twice (2002, 2006).
In ‘21, Álvarez will come back to action after missing almost the entire 2020 season due to undergoing surgery in both of his knees. And that should be the only question mark around this possibility of the Cuban slugger hitting 40 out of the park: Whether or not he can stay healthy all campaign long.
If he does avoid the injured list, Álvarez has all the tools and potential to do it. Do you remember his rookie season in 2019? He smacked 27 four-baggers in only 87 games, but if you combine that number with what he did that same year in Triple-A and you’ll get... 50 DINGERS!
If you’re looking for an Astros’ hitter to register 40 goners in a regular season, Álvarez is your guy. He didn’t hit 27 in 87 games for nothing. He’s the perfect mix in terms of combining exit velocity, barrel percentage, hard-hit percentage, launch angle, and even see spot percentage. Just take a look at his 2019 percentile rankings (provided by Baseball Savant):
Álvarez is the best pure slugger in the lineup for the Astros. Not Altuve, not Brantley, not Bregman, not Correa, but him.
To his odds, you need to add the fact that he will still have a good lineup around him that would allow Yordan to see good pitches every time. Regarding this point, Álvarez hit for a .373 batting average and a crazy .789 slugging percentage against deliveries in the strike zone back in 2019. League averages were .292 BAA and .523 SLG, how about that?
If the Cuban can overcome his knee surgeries and play regularly in 2021, not only could he aim to 40 home runs, but also to become the first Astro ever to send 50 balls to the bleachers.