The wait is soon to be over for Pirates prospect Pedro Alvarez. The highly-touted third baseman from Vanderbilt University has been a topic for discussion by many in baseball circles. Since he was drafted 2nd overall in 2008, he has made numerous lists of top prospects in all of baseball. When you look at Alvarez, you see a player who has a body that screams power hitter. He is a strong 6′ 3″ 225-pounds who can hit the ball out of any ballpark in baseball. I could see the left-handed Alvarez batting 3rd or 4th in the order on his first day in the big leagues. He has the potential to hit anywhere from 30 to 35 home runs a year when he reaches his maximum potential. Even with a relatively weak Pittsburgh lineup, Alvarez will routinely drive in 100 runs a year and will maintain at least .275 average.
In the 2009 season, Alvarez played in two levels of the Minor leagues where, at the end of the season, accumulated a .288 batting average, with 27 home runs and 95 RBIs. He also had a very respectable .378 on base-percentage. Though he has excellent plate discipline, he did strike out 129 times in 465 at-bats. This season, he has continued where he left off in 2009 and is on pace to have almost identical numbers as his 2009 campaign. In 65 games in Triple-A Indianapolis, he is batting .280 with 13 home runs and 53 RBIs. He also adds a .365 OBP and a .540 slugging percentage.
At 23 years old, Alvarez could come into Pittsburgh and be their best player right away. He has all the makings of a superstar and could finally bring some attention to the Pittsburgh Pirates even when they are not facing Stephen Strasburg. As a third baseman, Pedro Alvarez has very good value in fantasy baseball since it is a weak position. If you need help at third base, look no further than Alvarez to fill that need, especially if you are in a keeper league. If you also need power, Alvarez would also be a good option. He should be owned in all leagues with 14 teams or more and should at least be an option with 10 to 12 team leagues. Though I like Alvarez, I do not think he is as good as Mike Stanton or Carlos Santana. I would rather have those two than Alvarez in a fantasy league. If he gets called up soon, Alvarez should put up numbers like this to through the end of the 2010 season: .270 Avg. with 35 R 15 HR and 42 RBIs. He may steal a base or two, but is by no means a base stealer or even a threat to steal. Within a year, Alvarez will be a household name and will begin to put up numbers that will land him in all-star games year in and year out. Pedro Alvarez will be an important piece to Pittsburgh as well as to fantasy teams.