Has Pedro Alvarez truly improved at the plate?

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September 20, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Pedro Alvarez (24) hits a single in the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Alvarez exists in the semi-everyday lineup for a singular reason: to serve as a power threat. What better way to judge this by looking at his at-bats per home runs. For those unaware, this is the number of at-bats in between each home run. The smaller the number, the better.

Here’s Alvarez’s year-to-year metric:

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After having suffered through a 2014 to forget, I for one was very interested to see how Pedro would respond. With the troubles at third base firmly in his rear-view mirror, Alvarez could focus on his work at the dish while having an entire off-season to learn a new position. As we now know, Alvarez is as bad as ever defensively, just with a different locale.

However, it is encouraging to see Alvarez’s AB per HR drop in this way. Providing a home run on average every 4-5 games, Alvarez still provides that consistent power threat that is his bread-and-butter. Despite some cameos at higher spots in the order, Alvarez does his damage in the mid-to-lower third of the batting order and thus does not let opposing starters or incoming relievers catch a breather.

Of course, for many fans, it’s not how often he hits home runs, but what kind of home runs are hit. Take a look at our next slide to see his numbers with men on base and in scoring position.

Next: The master of Solo HRs