Just when you thought the Houston Astros lineup couldn’t get any scarier for opposing pitchers, rookie Yordan Alvarez arrived and upped the ante.
Alvarez, 21, hasn’t even been in Major League Baseball a full week. Yet he’s already made his presence known while making home run history.
With his 439-foot blast in Saturday’s 7-2 win against the Toronto Blue Jays, Alvarez became just the fourth player in league history to hit at least four homers in his first five career games.
There’s a reason people are already calling him “Air” Yordan.
Believe us when we say this. None of Alvarez’s homers have left any doubt.
In Friday’s game, he hit a home run to the train tracks in deep left-center field at Minute Maid Park.
That’s impressive for a right-handed batter.
Considering Alvarez is a left-handed hitter, that blast is more than a little special.
The Cuban slugger has already moved into the cleanup spot. Part of that is due to the injuries the Astros are dealing with. All-Stars Jose Altuve, George Springer and Carlos Correa are all currently on the injured list. Part of it is also due to Alvarez developing into a home run monster this season.
Prior to his June 9 call up, Alvarez led the minor leagues with 23 home runs.
One week later, he’s still leading the minor leagues in home runs.
More impressive to manager A.J. Hinch is that the higher level of pitching and bigger stage hasn’t changed the way Alvarez approaches the game.
“There’s a lot he’s doing right, and it starts with the right mindset and the right mental attitude to be at this level at an early age,” Hinch said of his 21-year-old phenom. “I applaud him for his approach to his at-bats and how he’s not letting the third deck get to him, he’s not letting hitting in the middle of the order get to him. He’s crushing.”
Crushing is correct.
Just take in these numbers after Alvarez went 3-for-4 on Saturday.
And despite their injuries, the Astros are crushing, too.
They entered Saturday with 47 wins, which is tied with the Dodgers for the most in MLB. They lead the AL West by 9 1/2 games over the Texas Rangers.
Adjustments will certainly be necessary once opposing scouts and coaches find holes in Alvarez’s swing. He’s striking out about once a game, so there are ways to get him out. But what’s encouraging is that he’s drawing walks at the same pace.
If Alvarez can just stay steady, it’s scary to think how good this lineup could potentially be once Altuve, Springer and Correa return to join him, Alex Bregman and Michael Brantley.
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