Lots of talk about Alvarez and some already writing him off as a bust. So I figure this is as good a time as any to take a look at players who had comparable to starts to him through their age 24 season. Using Baseball Reference I took their top 10 comparables to Pedro Alvarez through age 24 (2012 is Alvarez’s age 25 season) and break them down below.
OPS+ (through age 24): 84
Career OPS+: 94
Best Season (1991, 29): 114 OPS+ (600 PA)
Bottom Line: Buechele was a league average player who lasted for 11 seasons.
OPS+ (through age 24): 99
Career OPS+: 90
Best Season (1989, 24): 106 OPS+ (566 PA)
Bottom Line: Worthington started his career as an average major league player but after the 1991 season he spent entire seasons in the minors only getting the occasionally call up and playing in part of a total of 7 seasons.
OPS+ (through age 24): 95
Career OPS+: 111
Best Season (1989, 29): 133 OPS+ (633 PA)
Bottom Line: Esasky had a fairly solid career but it ended rather abruptly in 1990. ‘m assuming it was from injury as he did attempt a come back through the minor leagues in 1992.
OPS+ (through age 24): 79
Career OPS+: 85
Best Season (1998, 26): 102 OPS+ (559 PA)
Bottom Line: Andrews at his best was a replacement level player and through 7 major league seasons he had a subpar career. He did show some power hitting 41 combined home runs in the 1998 and 1999 seasons.
OPS+ (through age 24): 90
Career OPS+: 87
Best Season (1947, 23): 94 OPS+ (385 PA)
Bottom Line: Lohrke started his career as a serviceable player but gradually grew less effective and saw his playing time in the majors decrease over his 7 year career.
OPS+ (through age 24): 70
Career OPS+: 74
Best Season (1989, 25): 85 OPS+ (581 PA)
Bottom Line: Hamilton had a pretty poor career but he did manage to play in parts of 6 seasons and record 1205 at bats. His career was very poor and he is your typical minor league depth player.
OPS+ (through age 24): 95
Career OPS+: 88
Best Season (1988, 26): 115 OPS+ (462 PA)
Bottom Line: Coles had a short lived run as an average major league starter early in his career but even after that was over he became a useful serviceable bench player, posting not terrible numbers and lasting 14 seasons.
OPS+ (through age 24): 63
Career OPS+: 82
Best Season (1966, 28): 93 OPS+ (423 PA)
Bottom Line: Smith had a surprisingly long 10 year career where he received a fair amount of playing time but he was a horrible hitter for his entire career.
OPS+ (through age 24): 76
Career OPS+: 119
Best Season (1954, 30): 140 OPS+ (678 PA)
Bottom Line: Hodges has a very productive career, the beginning of which was interrupted by WW2 over his 11 year prime he averaged 30 home runs a year and was an 8 time All Star.
OPS+ (through age 24): 72
Career OPS+: 66
Best Season (1987, 23): 91 OPS+ (414 PA)
Bottom Line: Williams played his way to a 6 year career primarily serving as a bench outfielder. His numbers were not great but he managed to be serviceable.
So what do we have here:
2 players who became truly good players (Esasky, Hodges)
3 players who played at near league average level (Buechele, Worthington, Coles)
3 players who played at a competent but below average level (Andrews, Lohrke, Smith)
2 players who were very poor players (Hamilton, Williams)
So basically by looking at his comparables we get a 50/50 chance that Alvarez will turn into a league average player. Hodges had a truly great career and was among the best players in the game for a time. Esasky had what was a beginning to a good career but injuries derailed him. Obviously at this point we would be glad to have Alvarez have a career anything like Hodges and probably would even take the 2-3 very productive years Esasky had. Even the average careers Buechele, Worthington and Coles put up would look respectable coming from Alvarez right now. The bottom line here is that history shows us through Alvarez’s comparables that there is still hope for him.