Grading Yordan Alvarez' 2022 Season
The 2022 Houston Astros secured their second World Series in franchise history. After 106 wins and a world championship, it's safe to say most members of the team performed well and met or exceeded expectations.
This offseason, Climbing Tal's Hill will be offering up their report card for the 2022 Astros. Our firstinstallment graded the rotation mainstays that threw the majority of the season. Hunter Brown and Lance McCullers Jr. were omitted from the piece, but would be receiving a piece of their own. LMJ and Brown were each spotlighted in the past week.
Now we'll transition to reviewing position players.
Not much needs to be said about Alvarez' 2022 season. We could give him a near perfect score and call it quits here. The numbers speak for themselves.
Instead, we'll pay Yordaddy his proper respects and revisit his season in detail.
Take a quick glance at his numbers and they're almost too hard to believe: .306 batting average, 1.019 OPS, 187 OPS+, 6.8 WAR (an astounding figure for a primarily designated hitter as WAR weighs negatively against the DH), 37 bombs and 95 RBI in 135 games.
To be fair, almost all of his damage was done in 112 games. An injury to his hand derailed Alvarez' August, but in the 112 regular season games throughout the rest of the season, he hit 36 bombs and drove in 85 runs. Had he stayed healthy, he likely easily surpasses 45 home runs and posts an OPS hovering around 1.050-1.100.
His Statcast numbers are even more otherworldly: 100th percentile in average exit velocity, xBA, xwOBA, barrel percentage, hard hit rate, and xSLG. His .329 xBA was 24 points higher than that of AL MVP Aaron Judge and his xwOBA was within one point. Had Yordan stayed healthy, we would likely have seen a true race to the finish for AL MVP.
With the banning of the shift next season, his numbers may actually break baseball. For instance, Yordan batted .108 on pulled ground balls this season. He went 8-74 with an average exit velocity of 93.3 mph. His xBA on pulled ground balls registered at .292, which would give him an extra 13 base hits. If those ground balls all translated into singles, he finishes with a .334 batting average and 1.070 OPS.
But this is about last season. And his regular season was historic. Well worthy of an A+.
His October showing was one for the ages. By no means did he dominate in the postseason. His 2021 playoff stats were likely better than 2022. But this postseason Alvarez solidified his Houston legacy by hitting three game-winning home runs, two of the biggest in franchise history.
He had his ups-and-downs in the postseason, but his ups were what legends are made of. At times, he was the Astros' offense. For all of the (justified) hype the Astros' bullpen received, Houston doesn't win a World Series without their best hitter.
Yordan may never hit the raw home run totals of Aaron Judge. He's not the boom-or-bust hitter Judge is and he's not nearly as susceptible to the strikeout. In October, there isn't a hitter opposing pitchers dread stepping into the box more than Alvarez.
The most complete hitter in the game completes Houston's lineup. He receives the highest score of any Astros for 2022 for the combination of his regular season dominance and the historical magnitude of his playoff performance.
Yordan Alvarez' 2022 Report Card: A+ (99/100)