Pedro Alvarez has 21 home runs and 58 rbi this season, but lately has suffered a power outage and playing time has decreased because of it. Alvarez has not hit a home run since July 23 against the Cubs, a span of 14 games. In that span, Pedro has one extra base hit and zero runs batted in.
Although Pedro is in a power-slump currently, he has not been in a total slump, as his average has stayed at .229 and has six walks in his past eight games. While it is nice to see Pedro hit singles to the opposite field and work on his plate patience, that is simply not what the Pirates need from him.
Pedro has seen less and less playing time recently, as Josh Harrison has started three of the past five games at third base over Alvarez. While Harrison is a good spark-plug type player off the bench, by most experts accounts he is not an everyday starter in the majors and specifically does not attain the power needed to play third base.
McCutchen has not been much better in the power department, as he has only one home run and four rbi in his last 21 games. In the span, McCutchen’s bat has still been productive with 25 hits and still leads all NL batters in the batting race with a .369 aveage.
The Pirates have been fortunate that when their two most productive power sources (McCutchen and Alvarez) have been in slumps, the rest of the team has picked up where they left off. Regulars such as Neil Walker, Michael McKenry and Garrett Jones have improved their power numbers greatly over the past month, cushioning the blow of slumps from Cutch and Alvarez.
While the usual suspects on the Pirates roster have boosted their power production, the newest members to the team have gotten off to quite a start as well. Starling Marte, Travis Snider and Gaby Sanchez have done their part since joining the club around the trade deadline.
New Found Power
Neil Walker– Over his last 19 games, the second baseman has six home runs and 21 rbi. Overall- .291/ 13 hr/ 65 rbi
Michael McKenry– In his last 24 games, “The Fort” has hit eight home runs and 23 rbi. McKenry has seen more playing time recently and will continue to if Rod Barajas doesn’t start swinging the bat better. Overall- .283/ 11 hr/ 29 rbi
Garrett Jones– After a slow start to the season, Jones has heated up and over the last 30 days, has hit four home runs with 15 rbi. Overall- .273/ 16 hr/ 52 rbi
Starling Marte– In his first 14 games in the major leagues, Marte has hit .282 with four home runs and nine rbi.
Travis Snider– While the power numbers are not there yet, Snider is hitting .321 in his first nine games with the Pirates.
Gaby Sanchez– The power numbers have not shown up for Sanchez yet either, but in his first eight games with the team, Sanchez is batting .350.
Since McCutchen and Alvarez have gone into power slumps, Walker, McKenry, Jones and Marte have combined for 22 home runs and 68 rbi. Although the unexpected power surges from role players have been key to keeping this team competitive, the Pirates need their superstars-Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez to find their power strokes again.
The Pirates have had a potent offense for some time now, but have yet to click on all cylinders. If this team can keep the role players swinging hot sticks while adding a streaking Pedro Alvarez or Andrew McCutchen to the mix, it could be a lethal mix for any team in their way.