01 July 2012

El Toro o La Vaca

What shall we do with Pedro Alvarez? A question we have been asking since the beginning of time.  A month ago fans were calling for his head, today not so much.  Good thing management doesn't follow every rallying cry that fans make throughout the season.  In fact had they listened to all the ludicrous ideas fans have had about this team, our starting nine would include 4 guys still playing in AAA.  Not to mention having fired our hitting coach and traded away some of our promising pitching prospects.  Who's to say that Gregg Ritchie isn't part of the reason this team is hitting so well right now.  We honestly have no idea what part he has played in all of this, but as fans we only look at the end result and forgo the development that is involved in getting those results.  Case in point: Pedro Alvarez.

Listen, I get your frustration with the guy. I also get frustrated when I watch him roll over on an outside pitch and ground out to second, I get that.  What I can't get past is this idea that some people have that he isn't buying in, or that somehow he isn't good enough to play at this level.  I hear people say that he shows no emotion and doesn't look like he cares.  Really?  I don't see that at all, I see a calm collected and emotionally mature player who doesn't lose his temper when things are going bad and doesn't flaunt it when he hits a 438 ft. home run or throws a 90 mph fastball across the diamond.  And if that isn't enough, listen to how teammates talk about the guy; that gives you a real sense of what a guy means to a team.  When Pedro has success the dugout is ecstatic, they all know how hard he works and what an amazing talent he is.  They clearly haven't given up on him so why should we? You may disagree with me on this point, but a guy like Pedro Alvarez doesn't come along very often and the Pirates are not going to just throw him aside after less than two full years in the majors.  It would take years to find and develop another player of his caliber, and there isn't another guy like him in our system.

I purposely didn't include a single stat in this article thus far because stats don't always show the full picture and in Pedro's case they most definitely do not. Take for instance Pedro's fielding percentage and his 13 errors this season. On paper that doesn't look very good, in fact it is quite poor if the guy playing third is an average fielder with limited range and an average arm. My point is that when you factor in all of the amazing plays Pedro has made this season as a result of his range and arm it is easy to see where he has recorded outs where many third baseman would have given up hits. Offensively many are drawing comparisons to Adam Dunn, and while I am not a fan of Dunn, if Pedro hits .242 with 40 home runs every year I for one would take that. That being said, I still see Pedro's ceiling being hirer than Adam Dunn. When he connects he reminds me a lot more of David Ortiz the way the ball seems to jump off of his bat. Ortiz could and can hit home runs that never get higher than 20 feet off the ground and end up in the stands before the camera can catch up. Remember that home run Pedro hit in Cleveland? Yeah I thought so. Oh yeah and by the way, Ortiz's second year in the league he hit .232 with 18 HR's and seemed to recover quite nicely. The Pirates have already given up too early on a promising third baseman, let's not make that mistake again.

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