Draft II: A Better Pedro for a New World

Pedro Alvarez went into the season as the consensus #1 talent, and he's stayed there despite a hand injury. The Vanderbilt third baseman was hit by a pitch and broke a bone in his hand during his first game of the season, but he's still expected to go within the first three picks. If money or organizational depth weren't an issue, he'd probably be a lock to go to the Rays with the first pick. Hmm, that kind of sounds like something that would happen to a Giant. I'm sold already.

Pros:

* Watch the sweet lefty swing shut up an "Ov-er-rate-d"-chant. Even though Alvarez is a left-handed hitter, his power should still be a factor in Mays Field. Somewhere right now, a scout is writing a rock opera in Alvarez's honor.

* His coach loves him. Correction: His obviously red-assed coach loves him. You don't have to be a pleasant person to be a great player, but the Giants could use a franchise player who doesn't take candy from babies.

* He isn't expected to languish in the minors for very long. Scouty types expect Alvarez to be on a similar path to someone like Will Clark, who only played 71 games in the minors.

* He's represented by Scott Boras. Some folks would think that should go under "cons" -- oh, you see what I did there -- but his price tag would be the only reason Alvarez would fall to the Giants


Cons:

* For as nice of a swing as Alvarez has, he strikes out a lot, especially for someone hitting with an aluminum bat. Scouts still think he'll hit for average, but when I think "consensus top collegiate hitter" and "loads of strikeouts", I think "Pete Incaviglia." That's not fair, but there it is.

* Alvarez didn't have a great return from the injury. Hand injuries are tricky things, but it's still a little bit troublesome that he didn't set the world on fire. When you're giving a guy an $8M major league contract, you don't want any doubts, though most draftniks aren't worried about it.

* He might not be a third baseman at the major league level. He'll probably hit anywhere, so that's not a huge deal, but it would certainly minimize some of his value to an organization.

He probably won't get to the Giants. The Pirates are under new management, and they're expected to make a statement by taking the best available player, costs be damned. The Rays still might pick Alvarez first overall. The Orioles have gone for hitters in each of the past three drafts, but they could still go for another great prospect.

I hope he lasts until the fifth pick, though. I was half-heartedly alluding to Pete Incaviglia, but a better comparison would probably be a lefty-only Mark Teixeira that could play third. I'll take two, please.

Links:

MLB.com puff piece
AP puff piece
MLB.com draft report
Vanderbilt University profile
Ask BA with Q&A about Alvarez's injury

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