On a typical morning, I turn on MLB Network to assist myself in with the baseball news of the previous day. Oftentimes the content is focused on the young stars of the game: Tatis Jr., Guerrero Jr., Bichette, Acuna Jr. and Soto are among those mentioned nearly every day.
Rarely is the name Yordan Alvarez spoken in this context, yet his statistics through his first 162 major league games are phenomenal. And with the Houston Astros at the top of the American League, you would expect to hear more about the slugger.
With Yordan Alvarez reaching the 162-game mark, what do his numbers look like in his career?
In 591 at bats, Alvarez is batting .308 with 42 doubles, 44 home runs, 138 RBI, 162 OPS+ and a wRC+ of 166. Some of those numbers jump off the page: 44 home runs, 138 RBI and 42 doubles, for example. The numbers that caught my eye though, are the numbers for OPS+ and wRC+ which are both north of 160.
Alvarez hasn’t been totally overlooked. He was named AL Rookie of the Year in 2019 and is number 13 on this list from The Ringer of the top 25 players under 25-years-old. When considering the relative silence on Alvarez’s accomplishments there’s a few contributing factors to consider. Alvarez’s numbers are down a bit compared to his sizzling 2019 debut; he only appeared in two games in 2020 and his DH role are things that come to mind.
But wrap your brain around this: according to Friday night’s broadcast, Alvarez has the 3rd highest OPS (.999) in the first 162 games of his career in the history of the game, trailing only Rudy York and Ted Williams. It’s taken Alvarez parts of 3 seasons to reach 162 games, through no fault of his own, after not being called up until June 2019 and losing all but two games last season to the pandemic and surgery.
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I tend to believe all three of the above play some part, but the most likely culprit is that to this point in his career Alvarez hasn’t played in the field much. He’s been an offensive only player, and while that is changing to some degree this season, he’s still mainly a DH.
Whatever the reason, it’s hard to ignore the offensive numbers the young star is piling up. Yet, when the non-Astros centric media banter about the best young players of the game, Alvarez is rarely, if ever, mentioned, especially in the conversation with the names above.
Guerrero Jr. and Tatis Jr. are having monster years and deserve the praise they’re receiving; this is taking nothing away from their performances. Some of the players listed have more of a track record than Alvarez, so that’s another angle that may influence the lack of coverage on Alvarez’s accomplishments.
That said, I don’t know if I’ve ever witnessed a player bat over .300, hit 44 home runs with 138 RBI in 162 games with less fanfare. The way to change that is simple. Keep doing what you’re doing. At some point they’ll be forced to take notice.
The Astros struggled to get the bats going on Friday, as they dropped game one to the New York Yankees, 4-0. They continue the series on Saturday at 6:15 p.m. with Zack Greinke matching up against Gerrit Cole.
In the clubhouse, Carlos Correa was placed on the 10-day injured list due to health and safety protocols, as he was replaced by Taylor Jones. Aledmys Diaz hit batting practice on the field for the first time since he sustained his wrist injury.