Time to shine a spotlight on Houston Astros‘ Triple-A affiliate Fresno Grizzlies outfielder Yordan Alvarez.
As one of the organization’s top prospects, Yordan Alvarez is already a familiar name to many fans. MLB.com ranked him third in the system, behind only Kyle Tucker and Forrest Whitley. The 21-year-old slugger, fresh off a promotion to Triple-A Fresno, is the subject of this week’s spotlight.
The Scouting Report
The Astros acquired Alvarez in the August 2016 trade that sent Josh Fields to the Dodgers. Since then, he’s blossomed into a top prospect. MLB.com notes his “quiet and compact left-handed swing” despite his 6’5″ stature. He profiles as a hitter who’ll hit for a high average and good power.
He may possess just average speed, and defense remains a question. He lacks a defined position, having spent time at first base and the corner outfield. It’s doubtful he’ll end up a strong defender at either position, meaning he could have a future as a regular DH. But if his bat produces like it’s capable of, it’ll more than make up for any deficiencies in the field.
Following the trade, Alvarez promptly hit .341/.474/.500 in 16 Rookie League games. In 2017, he slashed .304/.379/.481 across two Class-A stops, chipping in 12 homers in 90 games. He hit .325/.389/.615 in 43 Double-A games this season before his call-up, also popping 12 homers.
He’s gotten off to a slow start in Triple-A, slashing .172/.200/.414 in his first eight games. Overall, he’s posted a .900 OPS across his minor league career, offering a tantalizing glimpse at what could become an impact Major League bat.
How quickly Alvarez ascends to the majors will depend on how he acclimates to Triple-A. He could find himself as a September call-up, but likely won’t have a regular role this season barring an injury.
If he mashes Triple-A pitching, however, he could earn himself a spot on the 2019 roster. Evan Gattis and Yuli Gurriel, while useful, are not long-term answers at their positions. A strong run in Fresno could force the Astros to move Gattis or Gurriel after the season to make room for Alvarez. Stay tuned.