Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez really came alive in the 2012 MLB season, particularly in regards to his power hitting. In 149 games last season, Alvarez hit .244 with a .784 OPS and knocked 30 home runs and 85 RBIs. They were hoping he would be able to replicate that type of production this season.
Through the first two months of the 2013 season, though, Alvarez was slumping in the worst kind of way. Through April and May, he accrued just 32 hits in 160 at-bats, good for only a .200 average. Even more importantly for his production, he had only 10 home runs and 29 RBIs over that time. It seemed that last season may have been a fluke for him.
However, Alvarez really came to life in the month of June and starting hitting for average and knocking the cover off the ball. He earned 30 hits in 97 at-bats, good enough for a .309 average, and posted an impressive 1.060 OPS. Moreover, he matched his home run production through the first stretch of the season by hitting 10 dingers in June alone, as well as driving in 24 runs.
At 51-31, the Pirates currently have the best record in all of baseball. The catalyst for the success has been their pitching, which has been great despite a slew of injuries. Their production at the plate hasn’t been terrible, but it hasn’t been noteworthy either.
If Alvarez can continue to hit with the power that he did in June and others like Russell Martin and Garrett Jones can follow suit and get better, this Pirates team has a chance to be a legitimate contender.