Yordan Álvarez seems to be flawless at home plate. There’s not a single pitch that can’t be hit hard by him and there’s no way to avoid being intimidated when the big Astros left fielder is at the plate. In a season that projects to be the best of Álvarez’s young career, his stats say the 24-year-old keeps improving as a hitter as days go by, a reason why the Astros signed him to a mult-million contract extension days ago.
The Cuban-born phenom is having the streak of his life. In his last 10 games, he’s only gone hitless in two of them while registering 17 hits across 39 at-bats. Those 17 knocks feature a double, a triple, four home runs, nine RBIs, eight runs, three walks, only two strikeouts, and a massive .436/.500/.821 slash line.
But there’s more beyond those traditional stats. Compared to his overall numbers from Opening Day to May 25, his exit velocity average, hard hit percentage, and barrel percentage have gone up from his already outstanding levels as a result of his recent hot period…
Exit Velocity Average: 95.2 MPH until May 25 | 98.6 MPH since May 27
HardHit%: 62.0% until May 25 | 75.7% since May 27
Barrel%: 16.7% until May 25 | 24.3% since May 27
At the same time Álvarez is making balls cry with his bat, his contact percentage also went up (from 79.6% to 84.0%) and his swinging strike % went down (from 8.7% to 7.1). That’s a precious combination for a hitter that’s been lights out as of late.
One important reason for Alvarez’s recent success is that he’s begun to get hits against fast pitches (cutter, sinker, four-seamer, two-seamer) after showing notable bad luck at the beginning of the season (.127 BABIP despite having a 96.2 MPH exit velo).
Since May 27, Yordan is 8-for-21 against fastballs, along with a double, a triple, and a home run. That’s good for a .381 batting average and a .667 slugging percentage. His insane performance includes this mammoth four-bagger over the center-field fence against Royals righty Brady Singer…
Among MLB hitters with at least 30 plate appearances since May 27, Yordan is second in OPS (1.321 OPS), third in slugging percentage, and fourth in batting average. Also, he owns the fifth-lowest strikeout percentage in baseball (4.5%).
If Álvarez, who I believe hasn’t reached his ceiling yet, keeps performing as he is this season, that six-year, $115MM contract extension might end up being a bargain a few years from now.