Yordan Alvarez is still troubled by that hand injury that limited him in 2022
Breathe deep, Houston. Astros slugger and World Series hero Yordan Alvarez is not yet hitting in Spring Training, citing the same hand injury that cost him time in 2022. The fearsome lefty said he expects to begin hitting in a few days and doesn't believe this will be an issue in the regular season.
Dusty Baker was asked why Alvarez didn't have surgery in the offseason to correct the ailment and shared that the doctors said it wasn't a necessity.
We're crossing our fingers this is in fact a non-issue, as if one thing can derail the Astros road to a repeat this season, it's an injury to Alvarez. Yordan played only 135 games last year, racking up 37 home runs, 97 RBI and 29 doubles en route to a .306 batting average, 1.019 OPS and a top-three MVP finish. His 6.8 bWAR led the team.
His Statcast metrics were even more impressive, finishing in the 100th percentile in average exit velocity, xwOBA, barrel percentage, expected batting average, expected slugging and hard hit percentage.
His playoff heroics were the things legends are made of. Alvarez hit three home runs this postseason, and all three were game winners. He capped off the historic comeback in Game 1 of the ALDS against Seattle with a walk-off three run blast, hit the go-ahead home run in the sixth inning of Game 2 of the ALDS and ended the World Series with his titanic, 450 foot blast on top of the batter's eye.
There is no hitter in the game more complete than Alvarez. The only thing that can slow him down is injury. While the hand injury did lead to some stints on IL, it also severely hampered Yordan in August. He hit only .234 with a .638 OPS and four extra base hits (one home run) in August. He hit at least .260 with six or more home runs every other month of the season.
For the Astros lineup to function at its best and for the team to repeat, Alvarez has to be at his best. He played in 89 of their 106 wins, hitting .359 with 31 home runs and an 1.193 OPS. He appeared in 46 games Houston lost, hitting only .200 with a .661 OPS.
If Alvarez is at his best, opposing pitchers and managers simply cannot navigate the talent and lefty/right balance the Astros possess in Altuve, Brantley, Bregman, Alvarez, Tucker, Abreu and Peña. Let's hope that Alvarez' hand heals with more rest and he's good to go for 2023. He's got an MVP and another World Series to win.