Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez is not good at hitting against left-handed pitching. This shouldn’t come as news to anyone, so why do I bring it up?
I do this because I am tired of watching Alvarez whiff against every lefty he faces. His splits against left-handers and right-handers aren’t extremely different, because Alvarez isn’t a great hitter against any type of pitcher. He is, however, a good power hitter against right-handed pitching.
Against left-handed pitching? Alvarez is close to an automatic out.
He has been bad against RHP if you only look at batting average. His batting line against right-handers looks like this: .245/.320/.449. Alvarez has hit 50 career home runs, and 41 have come against right-handed pitchers.
Against lefties, Alvarez has a terrible batting line: .201/.271/.339, the more alarming stat is that he has struck out in 131 of his 336 plate appearances against lefties.
The Pirates don’t have great options at third base behind Alvarez, making a platoon situation difficult. Josh Harrison, a utility player for the Pirates that I am not a fan of, is the only player on the roster right now that could do it until Brandon Inge comes off the disabled list. Once Inge comes back, I would approve of a platoon situation with Alvarez and Inge.
Against lefties in his career, Inge has a batting line of .261/.337/.455 in 1,537 plate appearances.
I know, the Pirates are invested in Alvarez; they did pick him second overall in the 2008 amateur draft. At some point, though, the Pirates will have to at least consider thinking that Alvarez isn’t going to be able to hit left-handed pitching.
When the Pirates finally realize this, it will be a great thing for the lineup. Having automatic outs aren’t good for any lineup.