Fantasy Baseball: Yordan Alvarez the call-up we've been waiting for
He's here, and he's perfect. Scott White shares in the joy of the most anticipated prospect call-up since Vladimir Guerrero.
Remember Juan Soto last year?
He was a known prospect doing unimaginable things, positioning himself to be an exciting call-up as early as mid-April. And he rode that wave of success right up to the big leagues a month later, reshaping the Fantasy standings with an immediate impact bat.
That's Yordan Alvarez this year.
But what started with a three-homer game on the second day of the season became plainly evident by the end of April, when he was hitting .354 with 12 home runs and a 1.332 OPS: The guy had the best bat the minor leagues had to offer, and it was only a matter of time.
That time has now come. Reports surfaced Saturday that the 21-year-old was getting called to the big club — one currently operating without Jose Altuve, George Springer and Carlos Correa, which apparently has forced the Astros to admit their need for offense outweighs their concern for defense. Of course, claims of the latter always rang hollow to those inclined to reduce it to a financial play, but regardless, the Astros are ready to break the seal.
And I suppose it's worth noting that because his defense, whether at first base or in left field, is thought to be less than major league-caliber and because Altuve and Springer are both on the verge of a rehab assignment, Alvarez will have to hit the ground running to ensure he sticks around. True, the Astros don't have a dedicated DH, so they should be able to find a spot for him there if nowhere else. But Kyle Tucker looked like just as obvious of a call-up when his time came last April, and his stay lasted all of three weeks. Even with the most hyped prospects, it doesn't always go according to plan, and the Astros' embarrassment of riches doesn't allow for as much patience.
But there's a reason Alvarez was owned in 60 percent of CBS Sports leagues even before word of his arrival broke. His pace never really slowed from April, giving him a .343 batting average, 23 home runs and 1.184 OPS for the year. With a high walk rate and low strikeout rate, he has the sort of advanced approach that normally lends itself to immediate success. Whether it was Soto or Ronald Acuna last year or Austin Riley and Mike Soroka this year, we've all seen someone else benefit from a small investment in the next big thing. And even while acknowledging we have no idea how the future will play out, the possibilities therein are always more valuable than whatever the worst player on our roster might be.
Shop Alvarez? Look, it doesn't hurt to put his name on the trade block and see what comes back — but with the idea of mitigating risk, not sacrificing upside. Unless you'd be getting back a player known for delivering everything you hope to get from Alvarez, he's right where he needs to be. You had the foresight to add him, and you should reap the rewards.
Most likely, they're going to be everything you hoped for.
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