We’re reviewing each of the 316 players to appear in Houston’s system in 2022.
Yordan Alvarez is a six-foot-five, 225 lb. left-handed batting, righty throwing outfielder from Las Tunas, Cuba. Born on June 27, 1997, he signed his first professional deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 25, 2016. A week later, he was traded to the Astros for Josh Fields.
Alvarez quickly rose through the ranks of Houston’s minor league feeder system, making his debut by hitting .313/.412/.655 in 87 games in 2019 as a rookie, with 27 jacks and 78 RBI. That effort paid off with an American League Rookie of the Year Award. A right knee ailment kept him out of all but two games in the pandemic shortened 2020 campaign, but he was right back at it in 2021. In 144 games he hit .277/.346/.531 with 33 home runs and 104 RBI.
Far from 2022 being a coming out party for Alvarez, we already knew he was here. Nevertheless, his efforts led to a third place finish in the American League MVP voting, as well as his first All Star appearance and his first Silver Slugger Award.
On April 18, Alvarez collected a single and two homers with four RBI in total as the Astros downed the Los Angeles Angels, 8-3. On May 12, he hit a double and two jacks with three RBI in a 5-0 win over the Minnesota Twins.
On June 3, Alvarez and the Astros avoided all of the arbitration years by agreeing to a six-year, $115 million deal. The extremely team-friendly deal starts with the advent of the 2023 campaign.
Alvarez totaled multiple hits 41 times for Houston through the season, including a dozen three-hit games. He slashed .306/.406/.613 (fourth in BA, second in OBP, third in SLG) with an AL third 37 jacks and an AL fifth 97 RBI, with one stolen base in two attempts. he also drew an NL fourth 78 walks versus 106 strikeouts in 561 plate appearances.
When the postseason came around, Alvarez opened by coming within a triple of the cycle and totaling five RBI in an 8-7 win over the Seattle Mariners in Game One of the NLDS. After another home run the following day, Alvarez went on a bit of a cold streak, going five-for-40 from Game Three of the NLDS through Game Five of the World Series. Game Six of the World Series, now, that was different.
Not quite a walkoff, but you have to believe that 450-foot moonshot took all of the wind out of Philadelphia’s sails. Did you see where that landed?
Alvarez enters the 2023 campaign as one of very few on the short list of pre-season AL MVP favorites. The only question is if he will play mostly left field or designated hitter. More than likely, half of both is in the cards.