Deep Dive: Underrated Yordan Alvarez deserves more credit for Astros’ winning ways

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Underrated Yordan Alvarez deserves more credit for the Astros winning ways, as the advanced stats go on to show.

He’s one of the last players to be mentioned, be it by Astros fans or baseball fans in general.

Some of that’s due to fans focusing on the few remaining players from the scandal-ridden 2017 Astros, of which he was not a part of.

Some of it’s likely due to his struggles in the 2019 ALCS against the Yankees where he hit .045 with 12 strikeouts in 22 at-bats and maybe some of it has to do with him mostly being a designated hitter.

There has to be some reason Yordan Alvarez is not one of the first names off the tongue when great, young players are mentioned.

Astros: Yordan Alvarez deserves more credit

As he approaches 1,000 career at-bats Alvarez is putting up astonishing numbers at the plate, numbers that if they were attached to a different name, perhaps on a different team, would be known world wide.

This season his baseballsavant.com page contains so much red it looks like it’s on fire.

His Average Exit Velocity is in the 99th percentile, Max Exit Velocity in the 93rd and Hard Hit% in the 100th, and that’s just for starters.

Alvarez’s xwOBA, xBA, xSLG, Barrel % and BB% are all in the 94th percentile or higher.

Quick, who’s second to Aaron Judge in Hard Hit %?  I’m pretty sure you didn’t guess Yordan Alvarez, even if you’re an Astros fan.

This season Alvarez is only batting .248, but his expected batting average sits at .289 and while it appears he’s struggling with the fastball (.172), the underlying number shows an expected batting average of .307 and expected slugging of .621 on the pitch.  It’s just a matter of time until he gets his.

It’s true that Alvarez is mostly a designated hitter, but his surgically repaired knees have started 14 games in left field this season and while you’re not going to confuse him with a gold glover, he’s acquitted himself fairly well.

Astros: Yordan Alvarez puts up superstar numbers

Yet, 257 games into his Major League career Alvarez toils mostly anonymously in a Houston lineup that includes Jose Altuve, Michael Brantley, Kyle Tucker, the reigning AL batting champ Yuli Gurriel, Alex Bregman and superstar rookie Jeremy Peña.

It’s difficult to believe that a player with career 162 game averages of 44 home runs, 126 RBI, a slash line of .285/.369/.576, an OPS+ of 153 and wRC+ of 155 needs a cheerleader, someone to stand up and say he deserves more credit for the Astros success, but here I am, ready to state his case.

For me, it’s an easy case to make.  Alvarez’s bombs pass the eyeball test, but baseball is a game that lends itself to numbers driven analysis and by every measure available Alvarez is one of the games most potent offensive threats.

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