Yordan Alvarez made his Major League debut with the Houston Astros in early June of last season and quickly established himself as a star of the future.
It was Sunday afternoon, June 9, 2019, in Minute Maid Park, the Astros were facing the Baltimore Orioles. A 21-year-old kid by the name of Yordan Alvarez was in the lineup on a big-league team for the first time in his career. There were high hopes for the young prospect, but I don’t think anyone truly expected what was in store for the next several months.
The temperature outside the stadium was approaching triple digits, but it was a comfortable 73 degrees under the protection of the closed roof of Minute Maid Park. The game was still knotted up in a scoreless tie. Alvarez steps up to the plate in the bottom of the 4th inning with two outs and Yuli Gurriel standing on first base. On the second pitch of his second at-bat in the Majors, he launches it 413 feet to the Home Run Porch.
That was the beginning of what would turn out to be a historic rookie season for Yordan Alvarez. He went on to be named the Rookie of the Month that June. In fact, he also took home the Rookie of the Month Award the following month and the month after that, three straight months of being dubbed top rookie in the League.
He ended the season slashing .313/.412/.655 with an OPS of 1.067. He tallied 27 HRs, 58 Rs, and 78 RBIs in 87 appearances and 313 at-bats. All culminating in Alvarez getting the coveted American League Rookie of the Year Award for 2019, receiving 100% of the first-place votes.
Many times, when you see a player explode onto the scene their rookie season, as Alvarez did, you’ll see them experience what is called a “Sophomore Slump” the next season. Pitchers will study him, accumulate data, and make their adjustments. But I don’t see Alvarez suffering from the second year doldrums. He has a good work ethic and is a quick study, so I have a feeling he’ll be making the necessary adjustments to counter opposing pitchers.
Just for fun, let’s extrapolate last year’s numbers out to what a full season could look like. If he were to play at the same level over a 162 game season, he would amass 50 HRs, 108 Runs, and 145 RBIs. MVP worthy stats, no doubt.
The Astros pitching may still be in flux. But with a line of George Springer, Michael Brantley, Jose Altuve, and Carlos Correa, just to name a few, and then add a full season of Yordan Alvarez into the mix, you have one of the most potent lineups ever assembled. Any of those players have the skills to be in contention for MVP of the year. But if Alvarez trends the way he did last season, they might all be chasing him for the award.