Pedro Alvarez was given a day off on Monday as he continues to falter in the opening weeks of the 2011 season. At a shallow position, Alvarez was supposed to give owners a little bit of thump. Instead, all he has done is fallen with a resounding thud.

Now, the question is if it is time to give up hope or do we still think he can turn things around?

Clearly, the numbers from his first 15 games have been ugly:

57 At Bats
.193 Batting Average (11 Hits)
0 Home Runs
3 Runs
1 Stolen Bases
.258 On Base Percentage
.228 Slugging Percentage
.297 Batting Average on Balls in Play

It is actually quite concerning that his BABIP is not outlandishly low. In fact, it’s quite realistic. Is there room for a little bit of improvement? Sure, but it’s not like we should have been expecting him to replicate his 2010 mark of .341.

There are two ways for Alvarez to improve his numbers and give value to fantasy owners:

1. Show some power
2. Reduce the strikeouts

The first one is pretty obvious when you realize that he has yet to hit one out. He hit 16 HR in 347 AB in 2010 (a home run every 21.7 AB). Over his 707 AB minor league career he hit 40 HR (a home run every 17.7 AB). There is no questioning the fact that there is some thunder in his bat. If you can afford to show some patience, you should be rewarded in this department before long.

The second point may be the more disturbing one. Thus far this season he has posted a 35.1 percent strikeout rate after posting a 34.3 percent mark in his rookie year. Considering his 27.9 percent minor league mark, there may be room for improvement, but not necessarily a great one.

Then again, we knew that heading into the year. When you drafted Alvarez, you knew that there was a very good chance that he struggled to hit for a good average, so it really shouldn’t be a surprise. Granted, a little bit of power will certainly help his bottom line and it should still be considered realistic that he hits around .250.

It’s not a great number, but what did you actually expect?

The bottom line with Alvarez is the power and, sooner or later, it is going to come around. He has shown it at every level since being selected in the first round of the 2008 draft, including in the major leagues. Just stay patient and you will be rewarded.

However, as a young player, it certainly is possible that your league mates are not willing to wait. Kick the tires and see what they would want. He’s going to get hot and you will reap the benefits.

What are your thoughts of Alvarez? Do you think he’s going to come around? Why or why not?

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