PITTSBURGH, Pa. — When Pedro Alvarez was coming up through the system, after being drafted in the first round of the 2008 draft (second overall), he was projected to eventually move to first base due to his range and size. But so far in 2012, Alvarez has made some sparkling plays at the hot corner. He has even impressed Manager Clint Hurdle.
“He works as hard as any third baseman I’ve ever played with or coached,” Hurdle said.
Hurdle mentioned similarities to infielder George Brett, who too, had a bad rep for his glove. Brett, who had a 21-year career, all with the Kansas City Royals, earned a Gold Glove at third base in 1985.
“I can remember days back when George Brett, and really the defensive thing was a bad tag on him,” Hurdle said. “And George worked and worked and worked himself into a Gold Glove third baseman. He didn’t get out-worked. Pedro works as hard as anybody I’ve ever had. As far as getting reps and making plays.”
In the Pirates 1-0 win against the Chicago Cubs, Alvarez made a great diving catch to his left in the sixth inning to save possibly two runs from scoring. Over his last few weeks at PNC Park, Alvarez has made several highlight reel worthy plays.
“You watched the play at third base, that’s one of the reasons why we continue to give him opportunities,” Hurdle said. “That saves two runs. He’s made a number of those this year. He’s still learning on the fly. There’s been some errors with maybe with lack of focus, or just inexperience. But as far as have to lay out and make plays, he’s done that a number of times this year.”
“Every opportunity I get to be up here, just to being playing the sport, I try and get better and learn,” Alvarez said on playing third base. “I’m just trying to progress forward. No one can take that from me. As long as I’m playing this game, that’s all I’ll continue to do.”
Over the offseason, Alvarez trained in Los Angeles and one of his main focuses was improving his agility. The third baseman believes that hard work has paid off at the hot corner.
“I feel better out there. I feel healthy,” Alvarez said. “As the game goes on, I feel good out there. The plan is as the season goes on to keep feeling good and keep feeling strong.”
Power is the last thing to come, and right now he needs to just continue to work at being a complete player day in and day out. His defense and a single and good baserunning instincts won the game yesterday, not a long drive to the warning track.
I’ve been a supporter of patience with players, especially the ones worth having patience for – and Pedro will be an impact player. He may not be Evan Longoria, but he will be a solid impact 3b for this team for the next 6 years at least and I hope they lock him up before that or you and everyone else will be crying about why we couldn’t keep another good player in the ‘burgh.
This guy is expected to change the course of the franchise. If he turns into Aurelio Rodriguez, that’s not going to do it. We need him to hit for power. So long as he plays passable defense, gets on base at a decent rate and slugs, I’m happy. If his defense is above average that is great. But his offense, has to, has to, has to be there. I’d rather have him be a butcher in the field and still hit than vice versa.