With Brad Lincoln and Jose Tabata having beat Pedro Alvarez to the major leagues, it looks as if the No. 2 pick in the 2008 draft may have his sights set on joining his former teammates in Pittsburgh.
General manager Neal Huntington refused to rule out promoting Pedro Alvarez by week's end, saying that the third baseman has "has responded well to the challenge of these other two guys going up," according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette .
The Pirates had intended Alvarez to join the Bucs later this month, but with a .375 average so far in June for Triple-A Indianapolis, Alvarez is showing he is ready for the next level right now. On the season, he is hitting .288/.375/.563 with 13 home runs in 222 at-bats.
One of the aspects of Alvarez's game that was considered worrisome and needed addressing prior to a promotion was his performance against left-handers. Alvarez's OPS against lefties was a scant .714 in 2009, while he battered righties to the tune of a 1.028 OPS.
Alvarez has done more than assuage fears he can't hit left-handed pitching -- he's raking them. With a .322 batting average against left-handers, he's outperforming his own numbers against right-handers.
Whenever Alvarez hits the bigs, he'll do so as the starting third baseman, pushing Andy LaRoche into a utility role.
LaRoche, part of the return that saw Jason Bay head to Boston in mid-2007, has been a disappointment and will now become a utility player. He'll be looked at to fill in at first base, second base and third. It's possible he may add other positions to his resume in the future but for this once heralded prospect, it's a dissapointing move at just age 26.
-- Evan Brunell
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