Mar 6, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez (24) singled during the second inning against the New York Yankees at a spring training baseball game at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
What can one say about Pedro Alvarez’ 2014 season that hasn’t already been said? Exactly, so we will keep our eyes solely on the future.
The power stroke shown by El Toro during this year’s spring training has been encouraging to say the least. I have been firmly in the “Move Pedro to first base” camp since his fielding troubles began, yet for a different reason than most. Rather than focusing on how the shift to first can improve his defense, I’ve often tried to deduce how it may improve his offense. At this time, we have no way to quantify that of course, but I am confident that over the 2015 season, Pedro will show us that without the stigma of his third base woes, his approach to the plate will improve.
Of course, Alvarez is no stranger to working to improving his game. The Big Bull became a full-time big leaguer in 2012, and since then he has improved his AB per HR rate (the amount of at-bats in between home runs) from 17.5 in 2012 to 15.5 in 2013. in 2014, that number jumped to 22.1. It doesn’t take a sabermetric genius to understand that his woes in the field absolutely played a part in losing confidence at the plate. Despite that jump, Pedro did endeavor to lower his K% rate from a disastrous 33.3% in 2013 to 28.5% in 2014.
Now as we enter the new year Pedro seems to be making the transition to first without any major issues. While his defense may remain suspect until it becomes second nature to see him at first, it’s clear that his power stroke is right where it needs to be for him to be what this team needs: The Big Bull. Projection: 32 HR
The next Pirate on this list had a career year in many ways in 2014, but can it be improved upon?
Next: Can The Kid take another leap?