After his electric debut on Thursday, everyone was talking about Pedro Alvarez. Since Thursday, there's been very little said about Pedro. This is because he's 0-for-13 in his last three games and he hasn't even reached base once in any of the three. I'm not here to say anything negative about this mini-slump for Alvarez or even try to read into it at all. What I do want to do is try to quiet all the talk that broke out Friday morning about Alvarez making it to Pittsburgh this year.
Last year, Matt Wieters entered the season with no professional experience save the Hawaiian Winter League. He started the season with Frederick of the Carolina League, which is the exact same league Alvarez is starting in, and went on to have what is being called one of the best seasons in the history of minor league baseball (I'm not kidding), hitting .355/.454/.600 across two levels. He was almost certainly ready for the Majors by the All-Star break last year, but he's still not in the big leagues because the Orioles prefer him to play a bit at every level and don't see the need to rush him to the bigs. He'll make it to Baltimore soon enough.
Alvarez, for all of the hopes we have pinned on him, is not going to match Wieters' minor league numbers this year. Wieters' numbers in 2008 were a once-in-a-generation breakout. It's not fair to Alvarez to compare him to that, just because Pirate fans are still upset that the Bucs didn't draft Wieters. Alvarez could well have a great year in Lynchburg and Altoona, but there's just no reason to put him on a super-fast-track with the Pirates likely foundering in the NL Central this year. And even if he does break out of this little slump and put up insane numbers this year, don't expect to see him in Pittsburgh before May or June of 2010.