White Sox don’t have definitive designated hitter for upcoming season. Should South Siders sign veteran slugger for its next DH?
Considering the fact the Chicago White Sox have a gaping hole at the designated hitter position, would it make sense to sign a short-term power bat such as Pedro Alvarez? Sure, he is unlikely to bring a World Series to the South Side in 2017, however adding a left-handed bat would provide balance to a right-handed heavy middle of the order.
Alvarez came into pro ball with a significant amount of hype, as the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted him second overall in the 2008 first-year player draft. Unfortunately for both he and the Pirates, his on-field production never met his ability level. Much of this is due to his inability to make consistent contact, as he has fanned 906 times in 2,837 career major league at bats (K in 1 out of 3 at bats).
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While he does struggle to make contact, Alvarez still can hit the ball a long way. His career high in home runs is 36 (2013), not to mention he has gone yard 20 or more times in four of seven big league seasons. Run production is solid, but not elite for a player to homers as much as he does. It seems as though he needs to hit 30 home runs in order to drive in 80 or more (85 RBIs in 2012-30 HR’s, and 100 in 2013-35 HR’s).
The main issue when it comes to Alvarez is the fact he is basically a platoon player. Just by looking at the last three seasons, he has made 2,837 official trips to the batters box. However, 81.8 percent of those occurred versus right-handed pitchers (2,232), meaning he rarely sees an at bat against a lefty. Which is probably a good thing, as he is hitting .217 with six home runs in that same time span.
Another major concern with Alvarez is his lack of discipline at the plate. While many power hitters have high strikeout totals, they also will draw the base on balls. Unfortunately that is not the case for Alvarez, as he has struggles to reach via the base on balls, which can be seen by his career high of 57 walks in 2012.
All in all, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to sign Alvarez, mainly due to the fact he could be a valuable trade chip come July. These are the kind of players that a rebuilding team should acquire, the low-risk types that could potentially bring back prospects at the deadline. Given it is unlikely those prospects will become stars, but it is worth it nonetheless.
Has anyone made it to Glendale yet? If so, enjoy the sunshine!