A week or so ago, Baseball America's JJ Cooper published subscriber-only a piece that discusses Pedro Alvarez. An American League scout opined that if he didn't know Alvarez's pedigree, he'd be tempted to call him a non-prospect. Jim Callis follows up on that today by discussing some of the biggest position player draft busts and concluding:
Perhaps if Alvarez can get himself into better shape, he can reclaim the bat speed and hitting ability that made him the No. 2 choice just four years ago. If not, you could argue that he's the biggest waste of hitting talent in draft history.
Callis qualifies his words carfeully (IF he can get himself into shape ...) but it's pretty alarming to see Alvarez discussed alongside the biggest draft busts in history in the present tense. Of course, it's also alarming to see him not be able to catch up to a Kyle Lohse fastball, and I suppose those two things go hand in hand.
I think that's been answered. He gets fatter and slower every year. He's regressed from year to year. He's a bust.
Who says he's not in good shape? He's 6'3", 223 lbs. and strong as an ox. The biggest problem with Pedro is that they brought him up too soon. He's looked awkward most of the time at the plate, but he's still learning to hit big league pitching. He's starting to come around. Had 2 HR's yesterday. Let's not write him off yet. I don't think the Pirates have much choice anyway.
I'm afraid he's already a bust, we're just can't admit it because he was our long awaited savior. Watch his at bats, he really has no idea what he's doing and I buy into the "doesn't work hard at his craft to get better".
Remember a couple years back when we were reading all the stories about what a great guy Lastings Milledge was being when he was first in camp with the Bucs? The only reason that was news is because he'd been a diva and an asshole his entire career to that point. Now think about the stories where Alvarez was working really hard and in the dreaded "best shape of his life." I think we sometimes forget how hard MLB players work on their craft, and when you have to specifically mention that about a certain player, that's a huge red flag. As much as I hate to go into dark corners like "desire" and "hustle", I think we need to reconcile ourselves to the fact that Alvarez very likely doesn't have the desire and work ethic to be a successful major league player.
@wkkortas That's a pretty hefty conclusion to draw. Granted, when someone says something like "best shape of his life", you could fairly say "What shape was he in before?" But I don't agree that it means Alvarez doesn't have the desire or the work ethic. Everything I've seen makes it sound like everyone is on board trying to fix the problem, but no one seems to really know what the problem is.
And I agree that it's both subjective and a hefty leap. Still, if it's a news item that someone is working hard to be a major league player, that's a warning sign. If someone like Jim Callis specifically mentions that Alvarez needs to get in better shape, that's a warning sign. When someone prioritizes planning their wedding over their off-season program, as the 2012 Baseball Prospectus entry on Alvarez notes (and, as an aside, as a groom your only wedding planning responsibilty is to be on time and sober enough to function), that's a warning sign. As I said earlier, it's an awfully dark corner to poke around in, but there are a lot of signs that I don't like here.