In Praise of Yordan…


When you have been watching baseball since the mid-1960’s every new player reminds you of someone from the past. Justin Verlander might remind you of a bigger version of Nolan Ryan, reinventing himself (and improving) at an age when many players hang it up. Michael Brantley might make one think of a David Justice, someone who is just a professional hitter and solid player.

But then there is Yordan Alvarez. He is more like a real live Paul Bunyan. A legend, who is real. His last two home runs are just the latest examples of how he is solidifying his legendary status. In Kansas City he came off the bench with the game in doubt and two men on and erased all doubt with a ball that looked more like a two-iron off a tee than a hit baseball. Tuesday night with the Astros nursing a 2-0 lead late (after Yuli Gurriel and Alex Bregman had hit home run shots of their own) Yordan worked the count and then totally lost one 454 ft to center field. It would have been fun to see him hit this one outdoors because it looked more like a 500 ft shot that ran out of indoor room.

How good is he?

  • If you projected his 79 game totals into a full 162 game season, he would have 113 runs scored, 47 doubles, 53 HRs, 156 RBIs and 100 walks. His slash line, which has been pretty darn steady is .318 BA/.419 OBP/ 1.090 OPS. As a reminder, 9 year veteran Mike Trout who is likely to be the AL MVP (sorry Alex Bregman, who I adore) will wrap up with 110 Runs, 27 doubles, 45 HRs and 104 RBIs and 100 walks with a .291 BA/ .438 OBP/ 1.083 OPS.
  • His 55 runs, 23 doubles, 26 HRs, 76 RBIs (and .318/.419/1.090 slash) in only 78 games overshadows the Astros two Rookie of the Year winners. Jeff Bagwell had 79 runs, 26 doubles 15 HRs and 82 RBIs (with a .294/.387/.824 slash)……in 156 games! In a little closer comparison length-wise, Carlos Correa posted 52 runs, 22 doubles, 22 HRs and 68 RBIs (with a .279/.345/.857 slash) in 99 games.
  • He just turned 22 in June. At this age George Springer had just finished his first professional season at A- ball.
  • This is no fluke. He has been tearing it up at every level since the Astros acquired him from the Dodgers in exchange for Josh Fields (a trade that may some day rival the Larry Andersen for Jeff Bagwell trade). In 2016, as a 19 year old in rookie ball he slashed .341 BA/ .474 OBP/ .974 OPS. In 2017 between A and A+ ball he slashed .304/.379/ .859. In 2018 between AA and AAA ball he slashed .293/.369/.904 and this season before being called up he was destroying AAA ball in his repeat at that level with a 343 BA/ .443 OBP/ 1.184 OPS line and that was after cooling off from an insane start to the season. At Round Rock this season in 56 games he scored 50 Runs, and hit 23 HRs and 71 RBIs. That means that if he hits one more HR and knocks in 3 more runs, he will total 50 HRs and 150 RBIs between AAA and the majors this season in about 144 games!!
  • He is only slightly affected by facing left-handed pitchers. His slash against them is .313 BA/ .395 OBP/ 1.041 OPS and has 8 HRs and 23 RBIs against them in about 1/2 the at bats as against the righties.
  • He is super consistent. He has had at bats in 4 months (June thru September). His low mark for any of the months was .309 BA (August)/ .406 OBP (June) / 1.045 OPS (July).
  • His walk rate is 14.5% vs. an MLB average of 8.5% and his extra base hit % is 14.5 vs. an MLB average of 8.7%. He is patient, but when he swings big things happen.
  • On a team that struggles a bit with runners in scoring position, he has 8 HRs, 49 RBIs and is slashing .348 BA/ .429 OBP/ 1.114 OPS. Two outs and runners in scoring position? .324/.405/1.026 slash line.
  • Even with playing only about half a season, he will be the AL Rookie of the Year. Any other choice would be silly.

Areas for improvement? Biggest would be strikeouts as he has struck out the equivalent of 170 Ks over a 162 games season. His .363 BABIP (batting average on balls in play) is a bit high which could indicate a bit of luck. However, when you consistently hit the living heck out of the ball, you may make your own luck.

Yordan Alvarez’s at bats have become must see TV in Houston. The fans hope that continues for the next decade or so.

 

 

 

 

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48 comments on “In Praise of Yordan…

  1. I like that Hinch groups Bergman and Yordan in the batting order. I might miss some of these players at bats, but these two have my attention. I can’t help wonder where Yordan’s ceiling might be. As the years develop for him, I think that he will strike out less. Dan, Do you think that they will try to work with him in the off-season at first base?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think they will work on both his OF and 1B. The way Yuli has come on – I don’t see him pushing him aside next season, but he will need to work on his fielding as things go along.
      I still think he will be a DH 80% of the time next season.

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  2. I’d like to add to your praise. Wednesday night, with two outs in the 5th inning of a scoreless game and a 3-2 count on him, Yordan lines a single to the opposite field to extend the inning. The next batter, Yuli, hits a two-run homer and changes the game.
    So far, Alvarez is a hitter who has tremendous power. It is this combination that will allow him to be an elite hitter, if it continues.
    If you have an elite hitter at the DH spot, you have something very rare and you have a great chance to keep it that way because he is so young and has a lot less chance of being injured, because he isn’t exposed to injury near as much.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Another thing about Yordan is that if he does not improve at the plate he can still have a Hall of Fame career by continuing to do what he is doing now. Teams have tried a lot of different ways to pitch to him, but he keeps making his own adjustments as he goes. He’s not been solved and likely will not be. He’ll probably strike out less too as he gets to know the the league better, but regardless, he still owns a .419 OBP. He has a good eye already. Serenity though, that’s his biggest weapon. In some ways, he’s as mature a hitter as we’ve got on the club. Really, the final test is how he performs in the post season. I can’t wait.

    We could talk about him improving defensively so that he can before more versatile, but I’ll wait for next year on that. Or at least until a World Series.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s significant, especially it being this time of year, although administrative leave is normally seven days, but can be extended. Will be very interesting to see how this plays out.

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  4. Kingwood was absolutely HAMMERED today…..we had MORE rain than we did with Harvey. So I was thinking about that horrible time this afternoon, and thought it’s almost the situation we had back then. In 2017 Verlander would help us to our first World Series win! At the trade deadline we were able to trade again for another Ace! I know soo many on here were affected by Harvey, and their homes were damaged by that horrible storm….but it kinda made me think we might be witnessing the same situation in 2019.
    My home didn’t flood in 2017, or today. I’m very blessed, and I don’t take that for granted,O P…..I hope your daughter is dry.
    I can imagine Verlander is lobbying to Cole to stay one more year here, but if that’s not the case, I’m soo glad we had the privilege of seeing him pitch on MLB’S best team! One of the guys on 790 a.m. said he was sitting in the area where most of the Astros wives sit…..and he said the pride Garrit’s, wife showed when he got that 300 strike out was awesome!
    As far as Yordan Alveraz is concerned…he just made it soo much better⚾!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, we’re flooded here too. I tried to leave office earlier and could not. I will try again in hour or so. Otherwise, spend night here in the building. Good point, Becky. Hope you’re right about the storm connection boding us well.

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    • Becky, our daughter and her family had enough. They sold their Kingwood home, bought the farm up here and just moved into the home they had built on the land. They already have their chickens, their goats and their dogs and their garden.

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      • I fully understand. I love Houston. The people of the region have to deal with too much, too often. The geography of the area just is not designed to deal with so much development. I hope everyone stays safe.

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      • I know you must be soo happy to have her and her family right there with you!
        Few people realize how important grandparents are to children. Mine live in Iowa, and Memphis. I would give anything for our kids who have our precious grandchildren to live closer to us, but they have their lives to live where they are. Becky⚾

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  5. I work downtown. Rode the bus in – was hardly raining on my side of town. They shut down the buses at lunch time because of flooding. A stranger helped my wife get my car from the park and ride before the water rose (it’s next to Keegan’s bayou). From what I was hearing from others about how bad the traffic and flooding was – I punted – I called the hotel next to my building – grabbed a room while there was one and am settling in for a quiet night on the computer with the news on in the background.
    You just can’t dump 10 – 20 inches into a place this flat and expect anything but flooding. Just heard about a man trying to drive his van through 7 feet of water who died.
    Praying for everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I feel for all of you there in H-town. In my prayers. Unfortunately in a place like Houston with all of the asphalt and concrete everywhere there in no ground to soak up the water and the streams, creeks, bayous and rivers can’t handle it. As a result this is what happens when you get this much rain in a short period of time. I wish you could ship it our way because we could sure use it.

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  7. I’m making a prediction…Verlander will win his 20th win this Sunday against the Angels! I think he’s 11 strikeouts to reach 300 for this year as well. I might be mistaken, if I am correct me!

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  8. Well it seems that both the Astros site and Baseball Reference say that Verlander is sitting at 283 Ks and is 17 short. So I will notify them both to make the correction to 289 because no lady on this site is ever wrong.

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  9. Tonight we face 23 y/o Angels righty Jaime Barria. He has not been very good against the league, but there are three teams against whom he has pitched very well. Those teams are: the Dodgers, the Rays, and US!

    Interesting tidbits:

    1. Jaime Barria has started five games against the Astros in his career [ERA 2.73];
    2. no current Astro has ever hit a home run off of him;
    3. The Astros’ BA against him is .167 [ but the league is hitting .266 off him];
    4. His biggest problem seems to be control – and since we tend to be impatient and swing at junk, that may be why our BA against him is so low;
    5. Our two best hitters against him have been Gurriel [.500, w/ 2 RBI], and Altuve [.417, with 1 RBI];
    6. He has totally frustrated Springer, Bregman, Correa, and Reddick.
    7. Alvarez only has 1 at bat against him – no hit, but an RBI.

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  10. For tonight’s game – I would be interested in what the Angels itinerary was. They had a night game in New York yesterday – so if they tried to fly in late they may have had a real problem – both in getting here and getting from the airport to a hotel. It would have made more sense to fly in today – much better whether and fewer road problems , but less time to settle in.

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  11. It will be a few days before the roads around Houston are passable….but not today. After Harvey left Houston in 2017, the estimated loss of cars was right at a *million*……this flood probably took the same. I have lived in this house for 30yrs and have NEVER seen water up in my yard like we did yesterday.
    I hope the Astros players didn’t flood, but imagine some did. I really want the guys to clinch the West this weekend! I was at the game when they clinched the West in 2017…..and it was AWESOME!! GO ‘STROS!!!

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  12. If 25 again, I might find a couple of talented associates and get myself into the home jacking business. I’m sure there are a few forward thinking insurers out there that would be willing to share part of the cost with a policy holder. Then you make a deal with a few landscaping firms too. This flooding business is not going away.

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  13. Thank you 1OP. So he threw 20 pitches last Thursday in K.C…..now I remember! But he then had a tentative bullpen to throw on Monday, the off day. Any word on that one? No news is good news, or not so good news?

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    • Apparently he threw a live batting practice session to Toro, Stubbs and Straw yesterday. Five minutes ago McTaggart tweeted that Hinch says Peacock will be activated on Sunday.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Greinke is human after all. Why am I nervous when Josh James comes in to pitch😨! It’s great to see our short stop hitting homeruns again. I just hope our guys can hang on to win tonnight. The kid that pitches for the Angels tomorrow and the one on Sunday are on pitch counts of 50-60.

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  15. The guys decided not to stay in the clubhouse to see if the A’S lost. They will clinch tomorrow or Sunday, so they aren’t sitting on pins and needles. Folks, the A’S are gonna be a force next year. Their lineup is scary and getting Manaea back and Montas, they will give us all we can handle. Pray that Miley is back tomorrow…we need him BIG time.

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  16. Yankees two games down in the loss column. Can’t make them up. We control our fate. But there are scary teams not prepared to go home. Give them credit. In their last ten, A’s 9-1, Cleveland 8-2.

    And TB is not done. We’ve got the best team though. We rest guys and win. Does Miley continue his repair and get help from the AA/AAA pen? A win on Saturday would be delightful.

    We wear the pants right now!

    Liked by 1 person

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