The Houston Astros entered Tuesday a game behind the Texas Rangers in the AL West, but it is hard to imagine where they would be without slugger Yordan Alvarez.
The 26-year-old slugger is compiling an impressive campaign early in the 2023 season, sporting a slash line of .305/.399/.616 with 12 home runs and 46 RBI (second in the majors) and a 1.015 OPS (fifth-best in the majors, third in AL).
It is evident that Alvarez brings significant value to the Astros — but can he continue this kind of production en route to an MVP season?
This was the focal point of discussion on Tuesday’s “Baseball Today” podcast with Chris Rose and Trevor Plouffe, who each laid out the challenges Alvarez must overcome in order to win an MVP this season.
“Mainly it’s been Yordan carrying that offense, especially early on…so how valuable has he been? Extremely valuable,” Plouffe said. “He is the real deal. He’s a top three hitter in baseball, in my opinion.
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“…I just think it’s an uphill battle for him because he provides all of his value offensively. It’s a ton of value but I don’t think he ends up making it enough to win an MVP. …He’s going to have to do. Something extremely special, like Aaron Judge did last year, to win this MVP, in my opinion.”
Then, there’s also the fact that Alvarez is competing with two-way star Shohei Ohtani.
“I think he’s got zero chance of winning it,” Rose said. “Unless he hits 60 homers and Shohei blows up on the mound and Aaron Judge misses significant time. I just don’t see it.”
Despite Rose’s pessimism, he pointed out that Alvarez’s past success also makes it harder for him to get recognized as he argued that, in a way, Alvarez is underrated.
“Part of the problem for Yordan is that he has been so good, so early in his career that his career OPS is I think over .970,” Rose said. “So, his OPS in an MVP-winning year has got to be almost 1.1 for us to really pay attention to what he’s doing inside the batter’s box.
“Other than that, we just go ‘oh, yeah it’s been another great Yordan year.’ I think you can say he’s extremely under-appreciated for what he does, but at the same time say realistically, he has almost zero shot to win the most coveted individual honor.”
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