To say that Pittsburgh Pirates 3B Pedro Alvarez is off to a slow start would certainly be an understatement, but with just one week in the books, should fantasy baseball owners be seriously concerned?
Alvarez has begun the season historically bad, going just 2-for-25 (.080 average) with one RBI and 12 strikeouts. Both of the slugger’s two hits have been singles, and he has drawn just one walk with a dismal 56-percent contact rate on swings. After the dreadful week, many fantasy owners have to be concerned, but a closer look indicates that it’s a bit too early to jump ship.
First off, the young third baseman is a notoriously slow starter. He is a career .201 hitter in April and went just 12-for-59 last April as well. The left-handed hitter has always struggled against lefties, and he has already racked up 12 at-bats against southpaws (0-for-12 with 8 strikeouts) in the early going. Owners who took Alvarez knew that he was going to be a drag on their average and/or on-base percentage while providing home runs and RBI, but thus far the power hasn’t been there either.
He has already been dropped in 5.9-percent of ESPN leagues and is now hitless in his last 17 at bats heading into Tuesday’s matchup. For now, Alvarez owners should have some patience and simply be wise with how to use him.
Ideally, Alvarez should be benched against lefties as not only is his average poor, but he has hit just nine of his career 50 home runs versus them as well. He can also be a solid buy-low candidate for those in need of power this season as his value is extremely low at the moment. The ridiculously poor start is frustrating, but Alvarez will eventually pay dividends if utilized properly.