Josh Fields — The gift that keeps giving — Yordan Alvarez makes his MLB debut


Most Astro fans know the drill or at least think they do. The Astros traded reliever Josh Fields to the Dodgers for young Cuban Yordan Alvarez in 2016. Alvarez was 19 years old and had not yet played for the Dodgers organization after starting his career with 74 games over two seasons in Cuba. They must have liked him a lot as they signed him to a $2 million bonus, but the Astros were able to pry him out of the Blue Men’s hands.   Alvarez has become a super star before he even played one major league game (and boy he looked like a potential super star in his one game) and all Fields ever did was give up back to back extra inning homers to Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa in the unbelievable Game 2 of the 2017 World Series.

To be fair to Fields, he actually pitched quite well for the Dodgers, going 8-2 with a fine 2.61 ERA and 1.040 WHIP over 2-1/2 seasons in LA. But if Alvarez becomes what folks think he may become, Fields will be forever linked with Larry Andersen (a solid reliever traded for Jeff Bagwell back in 1990) as “those” guys, players traded for important or even transcendent pieces.

So, what about this hitting wizard named Yordan Alvarez? Well, obviously it will take more than one big swing against Dylan Bundy to ultimately judge the young man, but he is off to a start that most of the recent Astro prospects brought up would kill for. He was 1 for 3 including his two-run homer that gave the Astros the lead they never relinquished and threw a walk in on top of that.  How did other folks start out?

  • Alex Bregman was the poster boy for patience with prospects. He got his first hit in his 19th at bat and his 1st HR (also a 2 run homer) in his 78th at bat back in 2016. Going into his 20th game when he finally hit the homer he had a terrible slash line .165 BA / .235 OBP/ .469 OPS. By the end of his first partial season, he had a respectable slash of .264 /.313/ .791.
  • George Springer was only a tad better than Bregman. George did get a hit in his first game and in fact had a 5 game hitting streak to start his career in 2014. Then he went cold as he dropped to a slash of .170 BA / .264 OBP/ .477 OPS. Like Bregman he got his first home run in his 20th game and his 78th at bat. Before an injury cut his season short he totaled 20 HRs and 51 RBIs in only 78 games.
  • Jose Altuve also had a hit in his first game and posted a quick out of the gate 7 game hitting streak after jumping all the way from AA back in 2011. He didn’t get his first home run until his 28th game and 106th at bat and it did not leave the ballpark as he whacked an inside the park homer at MMP. It would be 10 more games before he hit one that left the park against ……future teammate Charlie Morton. In his first time in the majors he would hit for good average (.276) but his on-base was a nasty (.297).
  • Correa would not be ribbing you (see what I did there) if he said he had the most successful debut of the Astros great young core. He had a hit in his first game, a home run the next day and never looked back on his way to the 2015 AL Rookie of the Year award. He finished the season with a robust .279 BA/ .345 OBP/ .857 OPS slash and 22 HRs and 68 RBIs.
  • Kyle Tucker was called up in 2018 and hit like an overmatched 21 year old. He earned his first hit in his first game, but is still waiting on his first MLB home run. He was sent back down with an anemic slash line of .141 BA / .236 OBP / .439 OPS

Mr. Alvarez has been on a quick track to reach the majors. His norm has been to hit extremely well at a level and then to come down a bit upon promotion. This year he has been the best hitter in the minors before his call-up with video game numbers .343 BA / .443 OBP / 1.184 OPS with a breathtaking 50 runs scored, 23 HRs and 71 RBIs in only 56 games.

Unlike Tucker who looked like a taller, skinnier Terry Puhl when he came up – Yordan Alvarez looks the part of an MLB power hitter or the newest Paul Bunyan. Like Bunyan the question is can he live up to the expectations that came with him from the minors and only intensified when he hit that 415+ ft laser beam to the gas pump in left centerfield on Sunday? We shall see, but it should be fun finding out.

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54 comments on “Josh Fields — The gift that keeps giving — Yordan Alvarez makes his MLB debut

  1. When the Dodgers signed Alvarez they were in the maximum penalty phase for going over the spending limits. They paid a 100% penalty to MLB on the $2 million they spent on Alvarez. At the time of the trade I thought it would be a good one for the Astros because I didn’t think Josh Fields would ever get his pitches over the plate.
    It’s too early to judge this trade. I will say this, Yordan led the Astros to victory in his first game and put a bunch of people in the stands in his first game. That’s a very good start to his career.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Astros could face Fields again this year, as he is currently pitching for Nashville, the AAA affiliate of the Rangers.

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    • I think Alvarez should be here to stay. He will now most likely, I hope not, but will struggle for a month or so until he fully transitions to the major leagues. I’m more worried about Tucker, who I feel is more fragile, If he comes up again and struggles.

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      • If Alvarez struggles with even a .750 OPS initially, we’ll be fine and he’ll remain in the line up most everyday. He’ll get beaten by some of the better pitchers, but I don’t think he’s going to be intimidated by anyone. He’s really quiet standing there in the box. His approach already seems quite refined.

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  3. I don’t want to ever determine a “win” in a trade until both/all have retired. But if Fields can’t make the Rangers bullpen, I like our chances of winning going forward.

    So far this year, Fields has pitched 19 innings. ERA of 6.98 and has given up 7 home runs. Not looking good.

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    • It’s rather strange as Fields was excellent last season – in 45 games he had a 2.20 ERA and 0.951 WHIP last season. But he did miss time with injury. Maybe he is still hurt or maybe when you go from the Dodgers to the Rangers the baseball gods punish you as a pitcher.

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      • He started off on the Brewers AAA club in San Antonio this season and was so bad they released him. Rangers picked him up.

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    • Josh Fields faced 3 batters in the 2017 World Series.
      We, in effect, activated Agent Fields to duty.
      In the span of 3 batters, he gave up 2 home runs and 3 hits.
      His WPA (Win Probability Added) -0.45 was no addition for the Dodgers.
      That trade has long been a win, before Alvarez the ManChild debuted (mostly because of the destiny in that bat).

      RR has played Nashville 4 times last several weeks. Fields pitched an inning each, I was watching on Statcast.

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  4. i’d like to see alvarez start every game for the foreseeable future and see how
    he fares. when the injured return we will have the offensive firepower to weather a slump or two from him if necessary and give him time to acclimate to this level of play. he looks the part.

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  5. Oh yeah……the Brewers have a guy that can a lot of homeruns too. The NL is going to be a dog fight at the end of the season These guys are good, and when their closer comes in its over. Will wonders never cease….White actually hit a homerun! Good to see these guys hit the ball hard tonight!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Know YA can hit for power. Just wait until this kids learns to adjust to pitchers and sprays hits all over the field along with hitting bombs. I know its early but he kinda reminds me of Brantley at the plate, his quiet approach and smooth swing

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I know….AIN’T IT *G R E A T*!!! (((Grinning)))!
    Actually he’s the first guy in Astros history to hit a homerun in both of his first two games!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. We can’t keep having to rely on Pressly and Osuna. I hope McHugh can play a big role along with Harris, and ultimately with help from Smith too. I don’t see Devenski in the pen all season.

    But a win is a win!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The Rangers are playing good ball. Hunter Pence has really taken to his new role as a DH. The Arlington squad was 17 and 22 on May 14 and 9 games out. Today at 36 and 30, they are still 9 games out.

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    • Even more than the Astros – the Rangers have been beating up on the poorer teams since that 39th game – the only team they played over .500 were the 33-32 Cards. They were 12-4 against KC, Seattle and Baltimore. Since their 39th game the Astros have played a number of teams over .500, including the Cubs, Brewers, and Rangers (the Rangers 17-22 was after being swept by us, but we get to count a couple of those games which were our 40th and 41st.
      The Rangers might continue to feast as they finish their series with the Red Sox and then play the Reds, the Indians, the White Sox and Tigers.
      The Astros finish with the Brewers and then play the Blue Jays, Reds, Yanks, Pirates and M’s – the Yanks standing out in that bunch.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Last night the Brewers and Astros faced each other with their BOR starters on the mound. Tonight they face each other with their #1 starters on the mound. It will be interesting to watch.

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    • Interesting that our ace is 9-2 with a 2.31 ERA and their ace is 8-1 despite a 3.87 ERA.
      We score 4.79 runs per JV’s 14 starts, while the Brewers score 6.92 runs per Woodruff’s 13 starts.
      I’ll take our guy and hope our offense does a little better than their average.

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  11. Monday night the AL West faced formidable opponents:
    Astros beat the Brewers.
    Angels beat the Dodgers.
    Rangers beat the Red Sox.
    A’s beat the Rays.
    Mariners lost to the Twins.
    Winning four out of five against those opponents is pretty good.

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  12. I quit listening when they hit a 3 run homerun off Devo last night. I asked my husband about 30 min later if we lost, that’s how much I don’t trust Rondon and Devo. Going into the 9th and you have a 5 run lead…..and *nothing* was safe??? JEEZE….this old gal can’t take many more games like that.
    Our guys who are on the IL….are at least 2 weeks away from making it back. NOT something I wanted to hear yesterday.
    The game is on ESPN tonight.

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    • The only possible reason for the overturn was IF he tagged Straw’s elbow. If they called him out on the tag to the stomach, they are just making it up as they go in New York.

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      • The replay on ESPN had incredible angles and slo-mo and showed that the fielder’s glove made contact with Straw’s sleeve an instant before his hand touched the bag.

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  13. Radio guys said when Josh James came back in the dugout he was holding his right arm. That’s the reason Rondon was in. Now……the only two pitchers they have left are Devo and Perez. Count me in the Perez corner. I’ve lost any faith I had in Devo. I hate games like this….they make my crazy😨

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  14. Tough loss. Bitter taste in their mouth…..BUT Cionel Perez is gonna stay up with the big club. Since they moved Valdez out of the pen, he can be a long lefty or used as a situational lefty. By the way…..I really don’t think Miles Straw was out either. I still despise Ryan Braun. He’s a cheater and he caused a really good guy to get fired. He belongs in the trash. Goodnight all.

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  15. I read this morning that the MLB replay rules are 8500 words long. That’s part of the problem. Somewhere in there it also states that the call must be “so obviously wrong” in order to be overturned. Unfortunately, when replays that are supposed to take 100 seconds maximum go on for 3 minutes or more, those umps in the New York control room end up looking for a reason to overturn a call. And that’s where replay, a good concept, goes off the rails.

    The next replay addition really needs to happen at home plate. I know the fans are ready for it. But I also believe pitchers and hitters both would be happier with technology determining what a ball or strike really is.

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    • I have watched the replay a dozen times. There is nothing there to confirm or overturn. The sleeve flicker can be when Straw’s hand hits the bag. If so, he is therefore safe. It appears that there is a separation between runner and glove. But at the end, the “clear and convincing evidence is not there.”

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  16. Those cocky Brewers are good squad. And all there position players are healthy today. They hit mistakes other guys might miss. They made a couple of really good defensive plays, especially the one out in left that saved at a least a run and ended an innng. They were smart enough to not let Bregman beat them. Alvarez will strike out. He will not hit a homer every night. But when we have our big three back in the line up, we won’t get just two hits in the last ten innings. We’d win that game. Outside of a couple of early flat offerings by Verlander, he was remarkable. In the seventh, he threw a pitch well out of the zone. It got chased, again by a guy good enough to get his bat on the ball. That’s the breaks. Even with Rondon insisting on using the walk as part of his game plan, the pen was great again. Alas, Perez got figured out in his second inning. He simply does not have enough variety in his offerings at this point in time. Tough loss. But I think more and more, we see that some guys are not ready for MLB. Myles Straw sure is willing, stopping most of what gets hit to him at short, but he’s got real work to do before being able to play Astro infield. And it becomes more and more clear that neither he nor Jack M are able to hit ML pitching.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. It is frustrating to play 14 innings and lose
    It is frustrating to have a call overturned on an apparently inconclusive review
    It is frustrating to have so many at bats taken by someone other than Springer, Altuve, Correa and Diaz
    It is frustrating to see JV be so dominant and have a few mistakes and an anemic offense cost him a win

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I just looked at the standings. If I had told you before the season started that 69 games into the season the Astros would only have 23 losses would you have settled for that?
    The Astros lead Texas by 9, Oakland by 11, LA by 12.5 and Seattle by 18.
    Last night’s loss was one that hurts right now but the team moves on. I still believe they are shooting for the road games in NY to get Altuve and Springer back.
    The Astros have signed a bunch of their picks, including their first rounder. He signed for more than $500,000 under slot value. They are waiting to announce more, in order to negotiate with hard to sign HS prospects.
    If they can sign a couple of them it would be a coup, because the Astros had the third lowest draft pool amount of money to work with.

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    • I hope Rogelio has been working on things that will explain the inflated stats this year. And so far, no injury news on James. Don’t know what to think. I hope no news is good news. Fisher is going to need an organization change to get an everyday shot, at least as long as Tucker remains a part of the plan.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Astros play 10 straight games starting today. They play 16 in 17 days. And there is still only 12 arms in the pen. (Unless you count Tyler White as bullpen)

    So the starters better go deep into the games.

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    • 45, the starters need to have a bunch of runs scored for them in some of these games, less pressure on them and a chance for the back end of the pen to get some days off. Otherwise, Hinch will be forced to put the Devenski’s of our pen into high leverage situations and the outcome won’t always be great! I guess it’s possible we’ll also see multiple Armenteros type cameo appearances in the next few weeks.

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  20. Luhnow will find Hinch what he needs.
    The Verlander trade showed that he is willing to go to the limit to get the team whomever they think they will need to have a team that is capable of winning a championship.
    I still think the Astros will seriously look into adding a starting pitcher and a relief pitcher before the deadline and it would not surprise me if one or both of those would have contracts that extend beyond this season.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, especially about the starting pitcher. That in of itself helps makes the pen stronger. And I still think it will be a significant starting pitcher.

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