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Pedro Alvarez: No Reason To Freak Out Yet

A weird tweet from the usually-sensible Jerry Crasnick:

Pedro Alvarez: 6-for-41 with 19 strikeouts. How buried does he have to get before Pirates send him back to Indy?

Um... a lot more buried? There are two issues here: first, Alvarez is the kind of player who needs to adjust upon promotion to a new level, and second, the sample size here isn't really significant enough to worry about. It's been 14 games; you don't promote one of the top prospects in baseball only to send him back to the minors when you don't like what you see after 14 games.

While Alvarez's struggles to start his major league career aren't what you'd call good news, they weren't exactly unpredictable either. His physical gifts are impressive, but he's not the most natural talent in the world. He'll probably always rack up strikeouts, and he'll probably always need to make little adjustments to keep his batting average in good shape. He also has a history of struggling a little bit at his first exposure at a new level - he had a bit of trouble at Lynchburg last year and at the beginning of this season at Indianapolis. While his major league numbers are weaker than they were when he started at Lynchburg and Indianapolis, again - it's only 14 games, and a star could struggle like he has over 14 games and it would hardly register. 

In short, let's leave Pedro alone for now, shall we? If he's still not hitting after 200 at bats, then maybe we'll really have something to be concerned about, but for now, he needs time. I'm not sure what good it would do to send him back now anyway - we already know he can rock Class AAA pitching. The best way for him to adjust to the difference in competition, if in fact that's a problem, is to let him keep trying.

It's funny that all this would come out right before the best start of Brad Lincoln's young career, by the way. Not that Lincoln is anywhere near as promising as Pedro, or that his success today was really sustainable, but rookies can surprise you if you have the good sense to just let them keep playing.