When the Pittsburgh Pirates took Pedro Alvarez with the second pick in the draft in 2008, Pittsburgh expected to get a power-hitting third baseman that would produce for many years to come. Alvarez didn’t do that during his first two seasons in MLB, but the 2012 season finally showed what Alvarez could do with 30 home runs for a Pittsburgh team that neared the .500 mark for the first time in a long time. This season will really show if Alvarez was a one-hit wonder or a player that can keep up this production for years to come.
Alvarez finally got over 500 at-bats last season in 149 games and while his .244 average isn’t something to be desired, it will allow Pittsburgh to be able to get their lineup into a place that is most successful. The Pirates can now have Andrew McCutchen hit third with Alvarez behind him. Gaby Sanchez and Russell Martin can then hit later in the order. Alvarez is a very talented player and while he did have 27 errors last season, the power numbers make up for the defensive issues.
I believe that Alvarez is going to take another step forward this season for the Pirates with at least 30 home runs as Pittsburgh finally breaks the .500 mark. I think the light bulb finally went off in Alvarez’s head at some point last year and that is going to allow him to be a better hitter in 2013. With all the improvements that the Pirates have made to their lineup and in their starting rotation, another great season from Alvarez could be the thing that pushes Pittsburgh over the top.