Some of the comments in yesterday's game thread got me to thinking about Pedro Alvarez's possible impact on the Pirates' lineup. I checked the stats the Bucs have gotten from third base this year, and it turns out that Alvarez in April and May, as bad as he was, was actually better with the stick than most of what the Bucs have gotten since then.
There's also Steve Pearce, with 23 at-bats at .781, but he's been gone for a while too.
Alvarez went 2-for-4 with two strikeouts yesterday for Indianapolis. At this point, he's basically a freeroll. If he's bad, and that's very possible, he probably isn't going to be much worse than the bad, April/May Pedro or the bad, May/June Wood/Harrison, at least not with the stick. (Defensively, he'll probably be worse than both of them.) If he's good, he'll be a lot better than the Pirates have gotten so far.
So I feel like Alvarez has some chance of downgrading the team, but only slightly, because of his defense. The upside of his return could be immense. He'll probably be back with the team within a week, and he'll need a bit of time to get going after that. But by then, things could get really interesting.