The one name I kept hearing about in comments or Twitter after the Third Base Building Blocks piece was Pedro Alvarez. I didn’t forget him; rather I chose not to include him. For these pieces, I am talking about dealing off the best parts of a losing team (which can still contain a handful of valuable pieces including some star power) to build toward 2012. As such, I don’t recommend taking on a risk like Alvarez who has had a busted season thus far (and likely will end that way as he isn’t even performing at AAA).
By no means should he be completely written off at 24, but expectations were high (likely too high in a lot of places) after he popped 16 home runs in 95 games last year. His 31% strikeout rate was a big black eye on his stat line and his home run rate (18% HR/FB) seemed a bit unsustainable, too, considering his groundball lean (46%). This isn’t 20/20 hindsight either, these things were clear with a quick glance at his profile, but I think the fantasy community (myself included at least to an extent) expected some growth that would counterbalance those issues and make him a viable option at a very weak position.
As I have stressed throughout all of 2011 here the site, growth trends of youngsters are not at all linear and you can’t just expect year-over-year improvements regardless of what the numbers say, especially if the numbers are built from a small sample size like Alvarez’s 95 games. So that’s why I chose not to include him. In most league formats, he should be waaaaaaaaay far down on your list of targets if you are trading the best pieces of your current team to acquire parts for next year. Third base is thin and it would be great to land a foundational piece there alas it is thin because not many of those players exist.
Dynasty teams and deeper NL only teams that have Alvarez on the cheap likely will hold him over for 2012 and I am not against that as he shouldn’t be tossed aside completely just because of an awful 36 game sample during which he hit .208/.283/.304 with two home runs and 10 RBIs in 138 plate appearances.