Pedro Alvarez finally played to his potential in 2012 for the Pittsburgh Pirates, with 30 home runs and 85 RBIs. With Pittsburgh on the edge of playoff contention last season, Alvarez is going to need to keep those numbers up as an important piece of the batting order. This becomes the season where fans and the team find out if Alvarez was just a one-year wonder.
While Alvarez did hit over 30 home runs last year, he hit just .244, and that average isn’t good enough for my liking. There are sluggers throughout Major League Baseball history that either hit home runs or struck out like Adam Dunn, Dave Kingman or Rob Deer. Alvarez is starting to look like one of those hitters after striking out 180 times in 2012. While a player who swings for the fences all the time is good if he is doing it consistently, there are too many times where runners are on bases and the player strikes out.
Hopefully Alvarez has taken some time this off-season to learn that a home run isn’t the only positive result when he is at the plate. With Alvarez reaching age 26, he should hitting the prime of his career at a time when the Pirates look like a team that could make the playoffs and be over the .500 mark for the first time since 1992. The fans in Pittsburgh will now wait and see if Alvarez is going to be the cornerstone at third base for many years to come, or just another player who flames out after one great season.