Is first base set long-term for the Astros?
The Astros answer may not be ready for the job just yet.
While many Major League clubs seem to have a notable face at first base, the Astros seem to be looking for “their guy.” Yuli Gurriel is heading into the third year of his five-year contract and is currently injured. A.J. Reed cannot seem to put it all together. J.D. Davis might get a shot this year, and Tyler White is pushing for an opportunity.
But what about long-term? Gurriel turns 34 this year, so the odds that he remains an entrenched fixture for the Astros are slim. If none of Reed, Davis or White does become the answer, it’s very likely that Yordan Alvarez is the future answer.
Alvarez On the Rise
Originally signed by the Dodgers, Alvarez came to Houston in a trade for Josh Fields. Alvarez spent 42 games at Quad-Cities before being promoted to Buies Creek. In the final 53 games of the season with Buies Creek, Alvarez slashed .277/.329/.393. Though not gaudy statistics, Alvarez is only 20 years old and still developing his power.
Chris Welsh of Prospect One wrote that Alvarez has “some decent bat speed to go with his size and big power.” Welsh adds that “he’s a classic four or five hitter with 30+ power and good AVG. He’s one of the top [first base] choices out there.” All of this shows that he is trending towards becoming a very solid option at first base in the future. Granted, we have seen this before with prospects like Reed.
In the midst of an excellent year in 2017, Alvarez got the call to play in the Future’s Game. He played opposite Astros prospects, Derek Fisher and Kyle Tucker. Coming in late in the game, Alvarez showed his worth on a stage with many of the game’s biggest prospects. He followed this up with a short stint in the Arizona Fall League.
Will Alvarez Stick Around?
Jake Kaplan wrote in the Houston Chronicle that the “seemingly out-of-nowhere emergence” of Alvarez “leaves the organization with another intriguing prospect and another potential trade chip.” He has stayed with the team through the Verlander and Cole trades. And Alvarez has risen to become the Astros third overall prospect.
So far, he has only had a couple of opportunities in Spring Training. Alvarez is 2-5 with no home runs or RBIs. But if he keeps on the pace he hit last year. It will only be a matter of time before the conversation about his long-term future with the Astros becomes very interesting.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***