I really don't have much time, and it has been awhile since I have really been able to mingle, discuss, and debate Pirates baseball with the fine folks and super fans at BD. However, I was inspired to write a fan post while I have a little time regarding Pedro Alvarez. A few days ago I thought to myself that it would be the perfect time to give him another shot at cleanup. He has been hitting more consistent and raising his average, maintaining his impressive power and RBI numbers, drawing walks, and maturing overall as a major league player...and he has been a key to our often-times abysmal offense since May. What do ya know? The series vs. the A's starts and there he is in the 4 spot.
Now, as far as cleanup, we all know his track record. But being this close to the All-star break presents the perfect time to try again. If he succeeds, it's just that much more confidence for the young man heading into the break, and we can let him continue in the 4-spot afterwards. If he were to fail? So what? The break arrives, and we reset the lineup again and put him back where he is most comfortable.
So far in 2 games he is 3 for 8 with a home run. A small sample size but something we aren't used to seeing from him in the particular spot in the lineup. The way he has been hitting of late, he is the perfect kind of player to claim the spot and continue his dominance likely with even more RBI's with Marte and McCutchen on base as often as they are. But the questions remain. Has he finally become confident in his game? Has he turned the corner as a more patient and consistent hitter? And finally, will he actually succeed this time and be the cleanup hitter he was meant to be when we drafted him out of Vandy with our top pick? I hope this is that true breakout season for him, especially with Jones and Sanchez numbers at the plate on the decline.
This guy has been an enigma for a long time. One week we love him, the next we went him replaced for good. I am very interested to hear the opinions of the folks who visit BD. Yinz seem to be the most enlightened and die-hard fans when it comes to Pirate baseball. What do you expect from him moving forward? Finally becoming a hero and possibly the new face of the team? Or is he doomed to regress again back into a lower spot in the lineup and remain the same old unsure, insecure Pedro? Keep in mind he is still very young, but he has built plenty of experience in the majors now. Patience with players like this can be a huge setback and disappointment. But it can also come with a generous reward. I have my prediction, but I would love to hear yours first. Thanks everyone.