The Pirates are on their way to their 17th straight losing season and the organizations prized prospect Pedro Alvarez is off to a disappointing start with the Pirates Class A Affiliate, the Lynchburg Hillcats.
Alvarez, 22, was phenomenal in spring training drawing comparisons from Willie Stargell to Albert Pujols and opened his professional career with a memorable first game going 3-for-4, with a double, home run and 4 RBI’s.
Since then, Alvarez has endured some struggles. Through 33 games he is batting .208, and has a team leading 37 strike outs and 11 errors at third base.
Alvarez belted two run walkoff home run Friday night and the power he showed during spring has shown up with Lynchburg as Alvarez leads the team with 7 home runs – 28 RBI’s and 20 walks.
Despite decent power numbers, Alvarez’s early struggles are a bit alarming to some talent evaluators because he is a 22 year old prospect with three years of college baseball experience, not a prospect just coming out of high school.
Some feel a player at his age and with his talent should be dominating at the Class A level.
Sources in the Pirates organization claim this is what they expected and as always they are preaching patience.
Alvarez is not the only Pirates top tier prospect off to a slow start. Outfielder Jose Tabata who had a very strong spring training, has been plagued by injuries and is batting .250 through 17 games this season with (AA) Altoona Curve
It was expected that Tabata would dominate AA from the start of the season and move quickly to AAA when the Pirates call up Andrew McCutchen.
McCutchen struggled out of the gate for the AAA Indianapolis Indians but has found his stride lately and is batting .293 on the season. Still, for being a player the Pirates want to build around, McCutchen has yet to dominate at the minor league level.
Patience is the key for a player with immense talent like Pedro Alvarez but you can’t blame fans for being frustrated and alarmed at the inability of the Pirates top tier prospects (most notably Tabata, McCutchen) to dominate at the minor league level.