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October 1, 2013

Advance Scouting Series

Pedro Alvarez

by Jeff Moore

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Advance Scouting Report

Filed by: Jeff Moore

Player Name: Pedro Alvarez

Context: Eight games from 9/15 – 9/22

PA

AB

H

1st P

K

BB

TB

Hard

AVE

OBP

SLG

OPS

TOTALS

31

29

5

8

8

2

8

6

.172

.226

.276

.502

Sample vs. Season:

This was a bad stretch for Alvarez, who was below his season norms in every statistical aspect.

SCOUTING BREAKDOWN

Physical/Health:

Healthy

Hit Tool

· Pedro Alvarez is not a good hitter. He has holes in his swing and poor bat-to-ball skills that lead to a low batting average and among the highest swing-and-miss totals in the league. He has a 40 hit tool at the major-league level.

· He has a patient approach at the plate that leads to deep counts and a lot of strikeouts. He’s a real three-true-outcomes hitter who, in most situations, is looking for a pitch to drive over the fence.

· When the ball is down, he has a strong tendency to roll over pitches or swing over the top of them. On the ground, he is a strong pull hitter. As the pitch is elevated, he does a better job of using the whole field.

· He is at his best when he can get his arms extended and gets a pitch up in the strike zone.

vs. LHP

vs. RHP

· Alvarez has a tendency to bail out/pull off pitches against LHPs, leading to pop-ups on fastballs on the outer half.

· Until he gets two strikes on him, he still tries to pick out a pitch to drive. He does change his approach with two strikes and will use the whole field, but still bails out.

· He struggles badly with slow curveballs unless they are up in the zone. Has big troubles laying off curveballs on outer half.

· Against RHPs, Alvarez does a better job staying on the ball and reaching the outer half of the strike zone.

· He is extremely susceptible to soft stuff away, especially when he’s down in the count.

Notable At-bats

Date

Description

9/21, Bot. 6 vs. Zach Duke

Facing a situational lefty, Alvarez showed a patient approach to get to a 3-2 count. He was looking for a pitch to drive until two strikes, but then changed his approach, shortened his swing, and looked to go the other way, away from the shift the infield had employed. He lined a fastball to LF for an RBI single.

Power

· Power is Alvarez’s game, and is the reason he is an everyday player despite the holes in his swing. He doesn’t have to make his best contact to get a ball out of the park. He has 80 raw power that grades out as 70-75 useable power in games because of his issues making contact.

· He has more pull power than anywhere else, but he does spray the ball around in the outfield much more than in the infield and he has plenty of power to leave the park in any direction.

vs. LHP

vs. RHP

· Alvarez frequently looks for pitches up in the zone to drive, even against LHPs.

· Against LHPs his tendency to bail out and pull off pitches limits his power to the pull side.

· Will frequently swing through/over backdoor curveballs and sliders on the outer half.

Notable At-bats

Date

Description

9/17, HR vs. Ian Kennedy

See chart and explanation below.

Text Box: During this sample of Pedro Alvarez, he connected on just one home run.  It was an at-bat that epitomized Alvarez as a hitter.  He got a first-pitch curveball down in the zone, but swung over top of it, expanding the zone below his knees.  He consistently has trouble laying off of these pitches, and frequently expands the zone downward.  On the next pitch, Ian Kennedy made a mistake with a fastball (a 92 mph two-seam sinker down the middle) and Alvarez crushed it.  If you make your pitches against Alvarez, he will miss them and get himself out with a strikeout or weak contact.  What makes Alvarez a dangerous hitter is the damage he does when a pitcher does make a mistake.

Speed/Baserunning

Alvarez runs better than his reputation or body type would lead you to believe. He’s not fast by any stretch and still comes in at below-average speed, but he’s not a base-clogger. Once he gets moving, he moves well; he’s just not very quick off the jump or to full speed. He did steal a base off of a LHP during this stretch.

Conclusions and Means of Attack

Alvarez is a hitter teams can go after, but they must do so carefully. Keep the ball down in the zone or below it and he will likely get himself out, either by swinging through pitches (see Chart A below) or making weak contact to the right side of the infield. He is among the league leaders in swing-and-miss percentage and much of that comes below the strike zone.

If a pitcher makes a mistake to Alvarez, he can take it out to any part of the field. He does the most damage when he is able to get his arms extended up and away or in the typical left-handed low-and-in hot zone (see Chart B below).

He is an extreme pull hitter on the infield and routinely hits into the three-man shift on the right side of the infield. On pitches up in the zone, he is much more judicious with his spray chart, using the whole field and letting the pitch location dictate where he hits the ball.

It’s easy to get ahead of Alvarez, who is generally a patient hitter. He clearly looks for a pitch he can drive early in counts, and has trouble recognizing good breaking pitches and laying off of them. Fastballs down and away will get him behind in the count, and breaking pitches down and away will finish him off. The only threat with Alvarez is that, when a pitcher misses his spot, he does more damage than most hitters. He has upper-tier power and heads to the plate with the sole intention of using it, and if a mistake is made, he can put it in the seats.

Alvarez is worth being careful with, but he’s not someone who you have to give in to. He will expand the zone and get himself out, and it’s important for the pitcher to err on the proper side of his target to avoid giving up a home run.

Matchup Stats at a Glance

First Pitch Swing

8/31 plate appearances

Bunt Threat (Sac, Push, Drag)

Did not show bunt

Defensive Positioning

Infield used three-man shift on right side

Outfield

Outfield plays primarily straight up with slight opposite field shift

Splits

vs. LHP

.178/.252/.279 on the season

vs. RHP

.246/.306/.523 on the season

Chart A

Chart B

Jeff Moore is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jeff's other articles. You can contact Jeff by clicking here

Related Content:  Scouting,  Advance Series

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