It's hard not to believe Pedro Alvarez has a few frustrations to take out on some baseballs this season.

Fab 5 Week: Pedro Alvarez Loves Third Base, Will It Impact 2011 Pirates Draft?

The Pirates Fab 5 Week: Pedro Alvarez

The Pirates offseason was rather quiet before an erroneous report about Pedro Alvarez being overweight broke in the press.  The story broke in a media outlet owned by Bob Nutting entitled Pirates Report.  A day later at PirateFest, we were with a contingent of sports bloggers that questioned Pirate pitcher Paul Maholm, Frank Coonelly, and Neil Huntington regarding the subject.   A few short hours later, Clint Hurdle was asked about Pedro and the words “big boned” were used.  Hurdle in his own way attempted to make a stand for his star slugger.

Now the talk about Pedro and his weight has gone from ‘not being where we want him to be,’ to it is ‘all muscle.’  The messages between the Pirates and Pedro are confusing to say the least and we bet Pedro Alvarez got pissed off.  Seriously, how could he not be?

Alvarez seems the type of player that wants to be a superstar for the Pirates not a supermodel Jenny Craig spokesperson.  He doesn’t look out of shape and is hitting well in Spring Training.

Pirates Report was wrong.

We then read that Pedro was taking a few plays at first base during Spring Training.  Were the Pirates beginning to groom him for a potential move across the diamond?  It was all very short lived and now stories are coming out about how much he wants to play third base.  That’s a great thing to hear and shows the confidence the powerful Alvarez has in his abilities. 

Pedro is special player, but to hear him being described by the Pirates front office that sentiment doesn’t exactly shine through, does it?  The Pirates Neal Huntington said recently that Pedro’s “body composition” will determine if he stays at third base.  During the interviews at PirateFest, Huntington said

“That’s a better question for Pedro Alvarez. He has the hands. He has the arm. He has the arm versatility. He even has the feet to be able to play third base. It’s a matter of how he’s going to do physically in order to stay there. The ultimate answer will be shown by his actions.”

So why all the back and forth with the Pirates franchise player?  Especially when some of it is being done in the mainstream press. Shouldn’t the Pirates simply focus on making absolutely certain that Alvarez plays out of his mind at third base and becomes the power hitter every Pirates fan dreams about?  The better answer to the ‘will Pedro remain at third base’ question seemed to be the one Huntington gave at PirateFest.  In essence, it’s up to Pedro. 

It almost seems like the press, well the Post-Gazette, because we’re not sure Pedro speaks with the Trib, is being used by Pedro and the Pirates front office.  It seems each side wants to get their message across about a few things:  the non-story about his weight, the possibility and in-turn, the consequences of the first overall pick being used on a third baseman.

“My intentions are to stay at third for the rest of my career,” said Pedro Alvarez

Shouldn’t how Pedro performs at third base determine if he stays at the position and not body composition?   Why not give him every possible drill, every bit of advice and get him the best possible instruction on the planet to ensure that Alvarez improves as a third baseman which would in turn naturally improve his body composition?



The quote is from the well written article we clipped above about Pedro.  In that article, one thing stood out for us.   Clint Hurdle and Nick Leyva seem to be changing the approach Pedro makes in the field. 

“He wasn’t ready on every pitch,” Leyva said. “He wasn’t consistent with his setup. He didn’t know if he wanted to be a straight-up guy, he didn’t know if he wanted to be a low guy. So now we have him somewhere in between, where he feels comfortable.”

But is it working?  We started reviewing our video of Pedro from earlier in Spring Training to see an example of what Leyva talks about.  In the video below you can see Alvarez looking very relaxed before Maholm delivers a pitch to Vlad Guerrero.   The ball is stung, but takes a couple hops to Pedro’s right and should have been gloved for an out. 

During the few days we observed Alvarez there is absolutely no doubt he was diligent about improving his glove work.  He never loafs.  The work ethic is there, the talent is there, the only thing missing in my opinion  seems to be the organization being completely behind their slugger. 

If the Bucs want him to slide over to first base and Alvarez, based on the comments above, isn’t interested, what happens next?  We can’t be sure, but we would have to guess that Alvarez wouldn’t want to rock the boat.  His agent on the other hand, that might be a different story. 



The Draft

“My intentions are to stay at third for the rest of my career,” said Pedro Alvarez

So who is going to break the news to Pedro this summer?  As every Pirates fan on the planet realizes, the Bucs have the first overall pick.  A player who is one of the favorites for that pick is named Anthony Rendon.  He plays third base.  All expectations are that Rendon will make a fast rise through the minor leagues and be major league ready very quickly.  Rendon also has an advisor that Pedro and the Pirates know very well, a man named Scott Boras.  Perhaps Boras is working an angle in this sticky who’s on third situation? 

“I’m going to work to keep improving my abilities there at third and stay there.” Pedro Alvarez

It is going to be one of the interesting Pittsburgh Pirates storylines in 2011.  As it stands today the easy answer seems Pedro moving to first base would improve the team.  But the draft could shake out on it’s own as Rendon has question marks and appears rather fragile which could loosen his stranglehold on the top pick.   

Keep an eye on the storyline as it shakes out this season.  It certainly is a story that is unique, a powerful superstar’s weight has never been written about so much in Pittsburgh in our memory.  But we leave you with this. 

We can’t help but wonder what Perry Hill thinks about all this garbage.  Or better yet, what Perry Hill would do about it. 

Yet again, maybe Hill saw it all coming and it impacted his decision to throw in the towel and walk away from the Pirates.  As Pirates fans, we aren’t so lucky.  We are in this for life. 

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