When should we be concerned about Yordan Alvarez and his hand injury?
For my money, Yordan Alvarez is the best hitter on the planet. Some may hit more home runs and others may hit for a higher average, but no player combines such effortless power with high contact rates, an ability to do damage against every pitch type, work gap-to-gap and do so without striking out.
He’s posted extraordinary numbers to begin his career and has done so whilst facing the shift. With the shift going away, his numbers could enter another stratosphere. Sadly, we haven’t yet seen a preview this spring of what Alvarez looks like digging in from the left side without a shift to penalize him. It’s March 7 and Yordan still is not swinging a bat. And as is typical of Houston, the Astros are disclosing very little about what is wrong with his hand and when we may see him back.
All that we know as of now is that the same hand that plagued Alvarez last season has flared up again this offseason. On February 21, he spoke to the media and said he would start hitting again in a couple of days.
Well, it’s been a couple of weeks now, and according to Dusty Baker, he’s still not swinging a bat. At what point do we worry?
If the Astros are going to repeat, they have to have a fully healthy Yordan. In the last four years, the only time they didn't reach the World Series was 2020. It's no coincidence Alvarez was out for the year with a knee injury.
His presence in the heart of the order simply can't be replaced. And even if he is in the lineup, he has to be healthy.
He spent some time on the IL last year with his hand injury, but also played through it at other stretches. Over the course of the six month season, Alvarez hit at least six home runs with at least a .260 batting average and at least an .893 OPS in five of the six months. The lone month in which he didn't was August.
As he played through the pain, Alvarez hit only .234 with one home run and a .638 OPS in August. Houston can't afford to have his hand flare up like that again, especially down the stretch.
Is there cause for concern here that his hand flared up in the offseason? How often will we see the hand injury rear its ugly head throughout the season? Let's cross our fingers nothing major develops from this.
The Astros motto this year is #Ready2Reign. With Yordan back, the reign is all but imminent. Without him, well. the reign may get pushed back another year. Get well soon, big man.