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.