ST. PETERSBURG -- Astros rookie slugger Yordan Alvarez has spent the last few weeks trying to hit the ball to the opposite field more. Teams are already struggling with whether to shift him on the ground in the infield because he can do a lot of different things with the bat, but Alvarez is still working to refine his approach.
“He's so good at keeping the ball fair and he's good at getting the ball in the air,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said. “I know if you look at the highlight reel of Yordan Alvarez, you'll see majestic shots -- an upper-deck shot at Yankee Stadium, a third-deck shot at Minute Maid, a ball that goes further than you expect into center field at our ballpark. He's hit some of the hardest and farthest balls of the season.”
Alvarez, who should win the American League Rookie of the Year Award following a season in which he hit .313 with 27 homers and 78 RBIs in 87 games, ended the regular season in an 0-for-14 slump -- he broke his bat over his left knee after he struck out against the Angels in the final weekend of the season -- but he had three hits in the first two games of the AL Division Series.
“You saw him in this series, he's had a couple of at-bats where he's fought off some late-count tough pitches to get some singles. He didn't hit the rocket everybody expects,” Hinch said. “But he's pretty good at identifying pitches. I think he got a little bit in between pitches the last month of the season and got a little bit too much in his head on how guys were going to pitch him. … He's as dangerous as any young hitter that I've ever been around.”