Astros: Is Yordan Álvarez a future Hall of Famer?

Paul Conlon
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Amidst all the drama of the ongoing MLB lockout, Houston Astros slugger Yordan Álvarez might be making history. Is Álvarez a future Hall of Famer? Let’s dig in.

I remember the first time I saw Yordan Álvarez come up to bat. It was a minor league game north of Austin, in Round Rock. That day, Álvarez faced one of the best starting pitching prospects in the entire Pacific Coast League, Zac Gallen, and he was dealing.

Soon after facing Álvarez in that Triple-A game, the right-hander would go on to find success with both the Marlins and Diamondbacks.

Though Álvarez had a quiet day at the plate that sunny afternoon, his form was there. It was evident in his balanced weight distribution and pitch selection discernment.

When he did unleash the bat from his shoulders to obliterate the baseball, there was this noticeable explosiveness only few power hitters convey.

The lefty’s swing seemed quite a bit to my vantage point to resemble Josh Hamilton’s—not a bad problem to have as Hamilton earned the 2010 AL MVP award.

At that time, Álvarez was generating all sorts of buzz for insane levels of offensive production in Triple-A. Former Houston Astros manager, A.J. Hinch, wanted him promoted from Round Rock to Houston faster than an Amazon Prime delivery.

Eventually, Hinch got his way—and Álvarez made a huge splash. A spark plug in an already dangerous 2019 Astros lineup featuring the likes of Jose Altuve, Michael Brantley, Alex Bregman, and Carlos Correa, Álvarez not only contributed to the Astros’ 2019 American League pennant, he earned the AL Rookie of the Year award.

Most major leaguers do not ever make a World Series roster even once throughout their entire careers. So far, Álvarez has already played in two during his first three years.

Arguably, his second season, 2020, should not count against him, as he only played in two games before undergoing surgery on both knees.

Sure, maybe Álvarez got to two World Series in his first three years because his team was so talented, but—just maybe—he helped get them there with his bat.

Nevertheless, Álvarez arguably is living a dream other ballplayers cannot help but envy. In addition to two World Series appearances and AL Rookie of the Year honors, the 24-year-old slugger has belted 61 home runs in only 233 regular season games. To put that long ball efficiency rate into perspective, Álvarez averages a homer every 3.8 games.

Assuming he stays healthy, Álvarez could reach 500 home runs in slightly more than 1,900 games total—essentially 12 total seasons of production. Even if Álvarez dramatically cools off with his power production and hovers around 350 long balls by age-34, he still has time.

For example, if Álvarez played until he was 43, he could reach 500 home runs by averaging 19 homers per season over his last eight years in the majors.

While it might seem too soon to talk about an emerging superstar’s Hall of Fame candidacy via reaching the 500-home run milestone, Álvarez’s on-field performance deserves the projections.

The 24-year-old even led a stacked Astros offense this last season in percentage of hard hits. To put his current pace of 1,900 games to reach 500 home runs into perspective, Álvarez could land there slightly before the end of his eleventh year—only nine years from now.

While 2030 might seem like forever and a day away, there remains a chance—however small—that Álvarez will be knocking out his 500th career home run as a distinguished major league perennial All-Star. Age would not necessarily be working against him just yet.

Álvarez could be 34 at the time of reaching that many games played, and with good conditioning and health, the left-handed power hitter stands a chance at being a major focal point as one of the best players of the entire decade.

Next. Slugger Carlos Lee will always be underrated. dark

Time will tell. Nevertheless, stay tuned, because another Hall of Famer in Houston might be in the making.

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