- Full name Pedro Manuel Alvarez
- Born 02/06/1987 in Santo Domingo Centro, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 6'3" / Wt.: 250 / Bats: L / Throws: R
- School Vanderbilt
- Debut 06/16/2010
Drafted in the 1st round (2nd overall) by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2008 (signed for $6,000,000).
View Draft ReportAlvarez entered the season as the top prospect in this year's draft class, and even after missing the first half of the season with a hamate bone injury, he maintains that status. The New York high school player of the year in 2005, Alvarez was ranked as a top 100 player as a senior and was drafted by the Red Sox in the 14th round that year. He elected to go to Vanderbilt instead, and he hit 22 home runs and drove in 64 runs, earning Freshman of the Year honors from BA. The trend continued into his sophomore year when Alvarez was named a first team All-American after hitting .386 with 18 home runs. He also spent two standout summers with Team USA. Alvarez has been one of the most feared college hitters for all three years he has been in school. Blessed with plus raw power, he is also an advanced hitter with a professional approach. At third base, his defensive skills and footwork have improved since he arrived at Vanderbilt. His arm is plenty for the corner and his athleticism is a plus. He is also known to be a great teammate with strong makeup. His bonus demands and status as a Boras Corp. client could affect his draft stock, however.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Alvarez starred for three seasons at Vanderbilt, winning Baseball America's Freshman of the Year award in 2006 and tying a school record with 49 career homers. The consensus top bat available in a hitter-rich 2008 draft, he went second overall and became the first Pirates draftee ever signed to a major league contract. Following contentious negotiations between club president Frank Coonelly and agent Scott Boras, Alvarez agreed to a club-record $6 million bonus--two minutes after the Aug. 15 signing deadline expired. The MLB Players Association filed a grievance on Alvarez's behalf, and it was resolved about a month later, with Alvarez getting the same bonus as part of a $6.335 million deal. The best hitter drafted by the Pirates since they took Barry Bonds sixth overall in 1985, he didn't disappoint in his much-anticipated pro debut last season. Despite a slow start that saw him hitting just .200 five weeks into his career, Alvarez batted a combined .288/.378/.535 with a system-best 27 homers between high Class A Lynchburg and Double-A Altoona and was chosen as the Pirates' minor league player of the year. He finished the season by hitting five homers at the World Cup for the gold medal-winning United States team. Alvarez has tremendous raw power to all fields. He opened eyes during the first days of spring training last year when he hit a batting-practice homer to dead center field that was estimated at 550 feet. He has good pitch-recognition skills and is usually willing to take a walk. He has a very strong arm and good hands at third base. The son of a livery cab driver in New York City, Alvarez has a blue-collar work ethic and is one of the first players at the ballpark and one of the last to leave. He is also an intelligent player, not surprising given his Vanderbilt pedigree. Alvarez can be caught off balance by breaking balls from lefthanders, though he improved against them over the course of the season. He needs to get into better shape to stay at third base, as he has a thick body and was instructed by the Pirates to lose 10 pounds during the offseason. They hope the weight loss will improve his below-average quickness and range at third base. Many scouts don't think he'll be able to stay at the hot corner. He's a well-below-average runner, though smart enough not to take unnecessary risks. Alvarez can be caught off balance by breaking balls from lefthanders, though he improved against them over the course of the season. He needs to get into better shape to stay at third base, as he has a thick body and was instructed by the Pirates to lose 10 pounds during the offseason. They hope the weight loss will improve his below-average quickness and range at third base. Many scouts don't think he'll be able to stay at the hot corner. He's a well-below-average runner, though smart enough not to take unnecessary risks.
Though his family lived in a two-bedroom apartment and his father drove a delivery cab, Alvarez decided to attend Vanderbilt rather than sign with the Red Sox for sandwich-round money as a 14th-round pick in 2005. He went to have a storied career with the Commodores, winning Baseball America's 2006 Freshman of the Year award and earning All-America honors in his first two seasons. He entered his junior year rated as the top prospect in the 2008 draft and maintained that distinction despite missing 23 games when an errant pitch broke the hamate bone in his right hand in Vanderbilt's season opener. The Rays passed on Alvarez with the No. 1 overall pick because they already had Evan Longoria. The Pirates, who famously passed on Scott Boras client Matt Wieters in the 2007 draft, didn't hesitate to take Alvarez at No. 2 despite reports Boras was seeking a $9 million major league contract. Pittsburgh announced that Alvarez had agreed to a club-record $6 million bonus shortly before the Aug. 15 signing deadline, but 12 days later Boras claimed Alvarez hadn't signed until 12:02 a.m. After the MLB Players Association filed a grievance, the two sides settled it on Sept. 24, with Alvarez receiving the same bonus as part of a $6.355 million contract. (Club president Frank Coonelly later acknowledged that Alvarez had signed two minutes after the deadline.) He saw his first action with the Pirates in instructional league. Alvarez's quick hands let him to allow the ball travel deep into the strike zone and enable him to draw comparisons to Albert Pujols. While he doesn't have a lot of loft in his swing, his bat speed and strength allow him to hit with power to all fields. He has an advanced, professional approach at the plate and makes consistent hard contact. Alvarez's best defensive tool is his strong arm and the Pirates believe he'll be a solid third baseman. He shows fairly quick feet for a big man and has worked hard to improve his defense. Despite his contentious negotiations, he has a reputation for outstanding character and leadership. The biggest question with Alvarez is whether he can stay at third base. He'll have to work hard to maintain his range and agility, which are just decent, and some scouts think he'll be forced to move to an outfield corner or first base. He reported to instructional league overweight, adding fuel to the idea that a position switch could be in his future. He's a below-average runner but moves well enough that he doesn't clog the bases. Alvarez has the talent and charisma to become the face of a struggling franchise that has lacked star power since Barry Bonds left as a free agent following the 1992 season. Pittsburgh hopes to build a lineup around him that can end a streak of losing seasons that began after Bonds departed. Alvarez likely will start his pro career at high Class A Lynchburg and could make his big league debut by September. He almost certainly will be the Pirates' starting third baseman in 2010.
Minor League Top Prospects
After hitting just .224 in April, Alvarez figured out Triple-A pitching and earned a promotion to Pittsburgh in mid-June. Alvarez has significant power to all fields. He recognizes pitches well and works himself into hitter's counts, though he's going to have to significantly cut down on his strikeouts if he's going to hit for a high average. He still has to make adjustments against lefthanders, who kept him in check in the majors. While he has the arm strength and soft hands to play third base, Alvarez may not stick there in the long run. He doesn't have a lot of quickness or range, and he made 11 errors in 62 Triple-A games. Many of his errors come on throws, a problem that can be corrected if he does a better job on bending his knees.
After batting .200/.312/.383 in the first five weeks, Alvarez turned his season around in mid-May. He adjusted to the fact that few pitchers wanted to challenge him and improved his pitch selection. He finished strong at Lynchburg, then hit .333/.419/.590 with 13 homers in the second half at Double-A Altoona. Alvarez's strength and tremendous bat speed lead to well above-average power, and his swing generates good loft. He can be too aggressive at times, but he finished the season with 71 walks and projects as a power hitter with an above-average on-base perentage. Alvarez's swing can get long, but his strikeouts stem more from his approach and pitch recognition, as pitchers can beat him with offspeed stuff. He struggles against breaking balls from lefthanders and changeups from righties, which he often either swings through or rolls over for grounders after getting caught out on his front side. "I like him," an American League scout said. "The contact rate and pitch selection worry me a bit, but that power is the best I've seen this season." While Alvarez's defense is still a work in progress, several observers said he was better than they expected. Alvarez should be able to remain at third base for the next few years if he keeps his conditioning in check, which he did this year. His hands work well and he has a strong arm. He doesn't have a quick first step and is a well below-average runner, which leads to below-average range, particularly down the line.
Alvarez had an eventful calendar year, signing late last September after a dispute with the Pirates. After an offseason of rumored conditioning issues, he started slowly at high Class A Lynchburg, striking out in 25 percent of his at-bats. But after his promotion to Altoona, he showed the talent that made him the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 draft. Alvarez used his strength and "serious raw power," as one manager put it, to punish league pitchers who caught too much of the plate. Alvarez's bat made him an elite prospect even back to high school, but EL managers also were cautiously optimistic about his defense at third base. He's no Gold Glover, but he has a plus arm and good hands, compensating for modest range and agility. Scouts agreed Alvarez should be able to stay at third at least for the early part of his big league career. "He took what we gave him, hit our lefthanders, made adjustments‚ he was a monster," said Portland manager Arnie Beyelor. "He reminded me a little bit of (Kevin) Youkilis in that he's a better athlete than he looks."
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Power Hitter in the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2010
- Rated Best Power Hitter in the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2009
- Rated Best Hitter for Average in the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2009