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Top prospect Pedro Alvarez could join Pirates as soon as tomorrow

Jun 15, 2010, 10:50 PM EDT

UPDATE: Sure enough, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that the Pirates will up Alvarez in time for Wednesday’s game.
Within the past three weeks the Pirates have called up prospects Neil Walker, Jose Tabata, and Brad Lincoln, and general manager Neil Huntington has indicated that Pedro Alvarez could join them in Pittsburgh as soon as this week. In fact, Conlin Dunlap of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that Alvarez could be promoted as soon as tomorrow.
Alvarez was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 draft and has played exclusively third base in the minors, so the clock is ticking on Andy LaRoche’s days as a starter. LaRoche was once a top prospect himself, but his stock has steadily declined and he’s now 26 years old with a measly .231 AVG/.312 OBP/.347 SLG line in 1,148 plate appearances.
Had LaRoche shown more promise this year the Pirates might be less inclined to push Alvarez to the majors until the second half, but LaRoche is dangerously close to flat-out bust territory and Alvarez is crushing Triple-A pitching to the tune of .285/.370/.549. That mark in 64 games at Triple-A is essentially identical to his .288/.379/.535 line in 126 games between Single-A and Double-A last season, with Alvarez averaging 31 homers and 37 doubles per 500 at-bats.
High strikeout rates and so-so batting averages are concerns, but Alvarez has shown good plate discipline along with the excellent power and his left-handed bat should eventually slot in the middle of Pittsburgh’s lineup. Not only do the Pirates rank second-worst in the league with just 45 homers in 63 games this season, they haven’t had a 35-homer hitter since Jason Bay in 2006.

  1. Travelin' Man - Jun 16, 2010 at 1:42 AM

    I was talking with a friend of mine and we were discussing the Pirates calling up Alvarez. You would think that they might have learned something from the way the Nationals organization handled the announcement of the Strasburg promotion. They announced it about a week ahead of time (yes, I know that things are different with pitchers), and it created a ton of buzz and they sold a lot of tickets. Surely there will not be the same level of interest in Alvarez’ arrival as there was in Strasburg’s, but Pittsburgh fans are starved for something to rally around, and Alvarez is the biggest prospect that they have brought up in awhile. Even if they had announced it a couple of days earlier, they might have generated SOME buzz and maybe putt a few butts into the seats at that gorgeous, but always empty ballpark.

  2. wintermath - Jun 16, 2010 at 11:56 AM

    Aaron!! Find somewhere else to write (besides your outstanding blog aarongleeman.com) because this site is going down the drain!!! This is bush leauge and now this site is nearly unreadable… How about you find a different way to generate “clicks” instead of reducing this website to an overproduced cartoon!

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