Astros News

Astros: Three premium trade chips this offseason

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HOUSTON, TX - JULY 07: Kyle Tucker #3 of the Houston Astros singles to right field in the seventh inning for his first major league hit against the Chicago White Sox at Minute Maid Park on July 7, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - JULY 07: Kyle Tucker #3 of the Houston Astros singles to right field in the seventh inning for his first major league hit against the Chicago White Sox at Minute Maid Park on July 7, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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MIAMI, FL – JULY 09: Yordan Alvarez #43 of the Houston Astros and the World Team slides in safely past Zack Collins #8 of the Chicago White Sox and the U.S. Team during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Marlins Park on July 9, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Trade Chip #2: Yordan Alvarez

Rated as the club’s third-best prospect by MLB Pipeline, Yordan Alvarez is another potential trade chip. Much like Tucker, his long-term status with the Astros partially hinges on whether the front office feels how much value they can receive from him in the future versus a proven commodity.

2018 Minor League Numbers: .293/.369/.534, 20 HR, 74 RBI, 11.1% BB%, 24.3% K%, 139 wRC+

Across two minor league levels in 2018, Alvarez established himself as one of the club’s best minor league prospects. Although he is generally regarded as a better left fielder than first baseman, the age-21 hitter has a bright future ahead of him.

Considered a Top 100 prospect in baseball, Alvarez has the upside to headline a deal for a catcher or starting pitcher. While Tucker is considered the club’s top position prospect, Alvarez cannot be far behind. It wouldn’t shock me to see another team prioritize the latter over the former in trade negotiations. Two front offices may view two prospects completely different as prospect evaluation isn’t an exact science.

One concern about Alvarez is his future position. Like I mentioned earlier, there are conflicting thoughts if he is better in left field or first base. He could also end up as a designated hitter one day if his career progresses at the major league level. But I can see a team in the middle of a rebuild taking a chance on his power and letting him play at the major league level sooner than the Astros. Also remember that Tyler White, J.D. Davis, Tony Kemp, and Tucker are all ahead of Alvarez in either first base or left field.

All in all, Alvarez is one of the more enticing prospects in Houston’s farm system. While he may not possess the exact upside as Tucker, the Cuban slugger’s potential is worth noting.

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