A Simple, Non-Batting Coach Analysis of Pittsburgh Pirates Slugger Pedro Alvarez


The Pittsburgh Pirates made some noise this weekend with the announcement by General Manager Neal Huntington that Pedro Alvarez, if healthy, has made the team. Talk about polarizing a fan base–Pedro Alvarez has fans behind him and those that – while behind him – think he needs to go to the minors. There isn’t a touch of grey in the argument.

When we look at Pedro Alvarez, we see a player that was rushed to the majors. There is no question about that. The Pirates were dying to sell tickets, and Pedro did that for them.  Alvarez gave the fans reason to believe in the organization. Was it a good move? It looked fine at the time; he hit well, got on base, and was as advertised.  Now that 2011 happened, it doesn’t appear to have been such a great move.

We got caught up in it back in 2010.  We wanted Alvarez in Pittsburgh.  Hell, we still remember Colin Dunlap stalking Alvarez near the buses and his “live from the scene” report.  In a season of such despair, it was damn exciting to watch unfold.

Last season when Pedro was sent to AAA, he didn’t exactly tear the cover off the ball.  Yes, he had hits, but some of those were bleeders.  We remember Huntington sounding less than pleased with the results.

So, who called the shots on bringing Pedro up to the majors in 2010 and then bringing him back in 2011?  Maybe he should have not returned to Pittsburgh after being sent to Indy last season?  And, for all the attention given to winter ball… if the organization wanted him in winter ball, why didn’t they have him on the roster right away?

The fingers can be pointed in many directions.  The situation has many layers, but let’s look at where we are right now.

It’s all too late now for finger pointing.  A number one pick is flirting with the one thing nobody in this town can handle.  Another first round bust would be difficult to take.  It’s hard to even type,  let alone think about.  So we know this:  El Toro needs to shake the “El Snoro.” Pedro needs to at least slow down the “K-dro” cat calls and become the player the Pirates need him to be.  And he needs to do it in the big leagues.  We feel confident Pedro will be in the lineup ten days from now. But this is a different Pedro Alvarez.

He has turned his 2010 slugger body into a more sculpted one.

And the most important part of a Major League Baseball position player, his swing, looks different. Very different.

Can there be any more movement in the 2012 swing of Pedro Alvarez? Look at it.  Check out everything that is going on here with the new batting stance, a toe tap, loading – hell, he does everything except look comfortable at the plate.

Well maybe it is comfortable for him after all? Pirates Prospects grabbed some video of the swing in action against left hander Justin Wilson and right hander Kyle McPherson.   Still…we hate this swing.

There were a few things that came to our mind when Neal Huntington made the announcement that Pedro Alvarez was headed north with the team.

Did he do it for Pedro’s psyche–his confidence? One can only imagine how difficult it must be implementing this new batting stance/dance.  Perhaps this will relax Alvarez?

We were glad that Huntington made the announcement when he did. There will be enough time now for everyone to get their questions out of the way, argue about it on the KDKA Sports Showdown, and comment on blogs and online.

The other options are just not appealing to us. We know many of you have reasons for wanting Pedro to go to AAA. For us, watching Josh Harrison, Yamaico Navarro or Casey McGehee at third base doesn’t cut it.  McGehee struggled mightily against left handers last season and will be under the microscope soon enough.

Bottom line: Pedro knows what he needs to do.  Apparently, we can reach the conclusion that the swing is the reason for his struggles in 2011.

The time has come for Pedro. It’s “go” time. We think it sucks that he is headed into the season with this new look stance, but we never said we were hitting gurus. That is what Clint Hurdle is the expert at solving, right?

The situation is a bit frightening for everyone involved when considering the possible outcomes.  But we are going to stay positive and believe Alvarez can find the magic once again.  Remember this swing?


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