The Orioles added depth to their infield by signing first baseman Pedro Alvarez to a one-year deal. What does this mean for him and the others in 2016?
The Baltimore Orioles haven’t shied away from spending money in order to compete in the American League East. They signed Chris Davis to a big multi-year deal and brought in Yovani Gallardo on a two-year deal. The team agreed to a one-year deal with former Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Pedro Alvarez. The team looks to be set at first base, but you can’t pass on that kind of power. What does the signing mean for Alvarez and the rest of the infield?
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Alvarez had a good season last year. He finished 18th among first baseman on the Player Rater. He played in 150 games, hitting 27 home runs, 77 RBI and .243/.318/.469. He walked just 48 times while striking out 131 times. His 0.37 BB/K ratio was T-109 among hitters with at least 450 plate appearances. Pedro Alvarez is a one-trick pony, but a very talented pony.
Alvarez hits the ball with such force. He had a 32.5 HR/FB rate on just a 26.9 fly ball rate. He had a 37.7 hard hit and 43.9 medium hit rates. He hit 36 home runs and 100 RBI just two years ago. While the batting average remains an issue, the slugging percentage, I think, outweighs the .240 average.
The Orioles depth chart lists Davis at first base, Jonathan Schoop at second, Manny Machado is at third, J.J. Hardy at shortstop and Mark Trumbo hitting as the DH. Alvarez will be second or third on the first-base depth chart. There doesn’t seem to be a path to significant playing time for Alvarez this season. That could change with the movement of some players.
Michael Baumann of FanRag Sports and Baseball Prospectus seems to have an idea on what they can do with Alvarez and the rest of the Orioles infield.
Mini-Keg in this tweet refers to Machado. Machado at short would be an improvement over Hardy. Davis played 89 games at third base. This would give the Orioles a dangerous infield corps. However, I don’t think the Orioles would do that. I could see, though, Alvarez giving Davis a day off here and there or splitting time with Trumbo at DH as a left-handed hitter.
Pedro Alvarez is a name to draft late in deeper leagues. In standard 10-team leagues, Alvarez is someone to look past, unless there is an injury to Davis, Machado or Trumbo.
Projections: 260 AB, 15 home runs, 43 RBI, .241 average