Stats corner: Alvarez in rarefied air among Pirates sluggers
The Pirates' offense has picked up the pace in June, scoring the sixth-most runs among National League clubs after ranking ninth in April and May. No player better exemplifies the team's progress at the plate than Pedro Alvarez.
The 26-year-old third baseman got off to a wretched start, slugging just four home runs in April while falling well short of the Mendoza Line. Alvarez has rediscovered his power stroke since, hitting six homers in May and 10 in June. In his first at-bat Saturday, Alvarez tied Cincinnati's Jay Bruce for the most homers this month.
Alvarez has boosted his fly ball rate each month, and he's driving the ball nearly 50 feet farther in June than he did in April:
Good things happen when Pedro Alvarez hits the ball in the air (through Friday):
Month Fly ball Pct. Avg. distance
April 29.3 256 feet
May 36.4 296 feet
June 40.7 304 feet
MLB avg. for 3B 33.6 267 feet
Source: Trumedia Networks, BaseballAnalytics.org
Alvarez is taking to the air so often because he's no longer rolling over against “soft” pitches — curveballs, sliders and changeups. He hit just 14 percent of breaking and off-speed stuff skyward in April. He raised that to 20 percent in May and 39 percent in June.
Alvarez's 19 homers lead NL third basemen and rank behind only Miguel Cabrera (24) among all major leaguers. If he keeps going deep at this pace, he will break the Pirates' single-season record for home runs by a third baseman, set by Frank Thomas (35) in 1958.
Alvarez is on pace to join some of the Pirates' single-season home run leaders
Batter Year HR
Ralph Kiner 1949 54
Ralph Kiner 1947 51
Willie Stargell 1971 48
Ralph Kiner 1950 47
Willie Stargell 1973 44
Ralph Kiner 1951 42
Ralph Kiner 1948 40
Pedro Alvarez 2013 39*
Brian Giles 1999 39
Brian Giles 2002 38* Projected
David Golebiewski is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.