Pedro Alvarez’s most recent slump

Pedro Alvarez hasn’t hit a home run since May 3rd. Since then, he singled on May 4th, then went hitless until the 12th. He recorded a hit a game for four straight games after then, before going hitless last night. His line since his last home run is .135/.244/.189; that’s 5-for-37 with two doubles. 

Obviously, this is not good. It’s easy enough to say that it’s not as bad as his early season slump, which is very true. It’s also fair to point out that he’s drawn six walks over the 45 plate appearances he’s had in these 12 games, which is a nice upgrade from his early season numbers. The thing is, he’s also struck out 16 times in those 45 PAs, which is not good at all. In fact, seven of those strikeouts have come since he started getting hits again during the Astros series, at which point he stopped drawing walks (his last walk came on May 12th, the last day of his hitless streak). 

It goes without saying that we’re dealing with small sample sizes here, but I’m a bit worried about these trends. If you want to extrapolate from this small amount of data, it’s not hard to come up with a hypothesis that goes something like this: After Alvarez’s homer streak, pitchers started realizing that pitching to him wouldn’t be as easy as throwing strikes. They started pitching him more carefully and though he was patient enough to draw some walks, he stopped hitting the ball hard. After a few games of that, he got frustrated, started chasing some more pitches, and is recording some hits to go with a ton of strikeouts. The question for me is where he goes from here; can he adjust to how the pitchers have adjusted to him? I feel like this second adjustment is where the problem lay for him in the past, so it’s very interesting to me how long this slump of his lasts. Twelve games isn’t unduly long, but if we’re still having this conversation in a week, I’ll be quite a bit more concerned. 

Here’s what really scares me, though: Pedro Alvarez is hitting .215/.277/.467, he is the Pirates’ second best hitter, and of the Pirate hitters with at least 50 plate appearances that .277 OBP is fifth best

About Pat Lackey

In 2005, I started a WHYGAVS instead of working on organic chemistry homework. Many years later, I've written about baseball and the Pirates for a number of sites all across the internet, but WHYGAVS is still my home. I still haven't finished that O-Chem homework, though.