HOUSTON -- When the Astros acquired a young Cuban slugger named Yordan Alvarez last August after trading relief pitcher Josh Fields to the Dodgers, they landed a player they had pursued previously. The club was interested in Alvarez heavily, but watched the Dodgers sign him for $2 million last June.Alvarez
HOUSTON -- When the Astros acquired a young Cuban slugger named Yordan Alvarez last August after trading relief pitcher Josh Fields to the Dodgers, they landed a player they had pursued previously. The club was interested in Alvarez heavily, but watched the Dodgers sign him for $2 million last June.
Alvarez has shot through the Astros' system and up the prospect ranks in less than a year and will represent the club as a member of the World Team during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game today. The 2017 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game takes place today at 4 p.m. ET at Marlins Park in Miami and can be viewed live on MLB Network and MLB.com. Outfielders Derek Fisher and Kyle Tucker were named to the U.S. Team roster.
"It's a fun experience, especially a kid like that has left Cuba to show up in the United States," Astros director of scouting and player development Mike Elias said. "To be in that All-Star environment in Miami along with a lot of other international talent on the World team, I think it will be a fun experience for him, but it will also for the fans for the rest of the baseball world that don't know this guy that well. He's going to have a chance to show everybody firsthand the type of talent the Astros know he is."
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Alvarez, 20, is ranked by MLBPipeline.com as No. 14 on the Astros' top 30 prospects list and was promoted to Class A Buies Creek last month after hitting .360 with a .468 on-base percentage, nine homers and 33 RBIs in 32 games at Class A Quad Cities. In 10 games with Buies Creek, he's hitting .273 with a .381 OBP, one homer and nine RBIs.
Prior to this year, his only professional experience came in 16 games in the Dominican Summer League last year.
"I can't say we're surprised, just because we know how talented he is," Elias said. "To make the adjustments to pro ball this quickly, to climb through multiple levels and produce this quickly, it speaks to how talented he is."
Elias said director of international/Latin player development Oz Ocampo and senior scouting advisor Charlie Gonzalez were high on Alvarez when he was in Cuba, and director of pro scouting Kevin Goldstein and his staff kept an eye on him with the Dodgers.
"We are very high on Yordan and his talent and he has really hit the ground running here in his first year in the [U.S.], which is good to see," Elias said.
Alvarez stands 6-foot-5, with a large frame and a smooth left-handed swing. He runs well for a player his size and has a good hit-power combo. He can play the corner outfield, but the Astros are trying to teach him first base, as well.
"We're doing to keep developing him as a corner outfielder and a first baseman simultaneously, just so his options remain as he climbs the ladder, because you never know where the playing time might be at the next level," Elias said. "He's certainly athletic enough and has a good enough glove to play in the outfield."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.