Pittsburgh designated for assignment this season’s starting first baseman, Ike Davis, and general manager Neal Huntington told Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that the Pirates “have essentially committed” to Pedro Alvarez as their new first baseman.
Alvarez was previously the Pirates’ starting third baseman, but throwing problems forced him to stop playing the position and now Josh Harrison is cemented as the starter there.
Instead of parting ways with Alvarez the Pirates have decided to shift him across the diamond to first base, where his throwing problems will hopefully be a non-factor and his offense will hopefully return to 2012/2013 levels. Alvarez strikes out a ton and is a career .235 hitter, but he led the league with 36 homers in 2013 and also went deep 30 times in 2012.
Rookie first baseman Pete Alonso has launched what appears to be the beginning of an auspicious career, made all the more notable by the 50 home runs he’s produced for the Mets so far this season. The All-Star slugger pushed his home run streak to four straight games on Friday, collecting no. 50 on an eighth-inning fastball from the Reds’ Sal Romano.
It’s just the latest of a long line of accomplishments for the 24-year-old infielder. Entering Friday’s series opener against Cincinnati, the first-time All-Star carried a .266/.366/.590 batting line with a league-leading 49 homers, 113 RBI, a .956 OPS and 4.9 fWAR through 648 plate appearances. Among those who are still rounding out their rookie seasons in 2019, he ranks first in home runs and fWAR by a long shot: the White Sox’ Eloy Jiménez is second in home runs with 28 dingers, while the Astros’ Yordan Álvarez plays second fiddle in fWAR with 3.7 Wins Above Replacement.
Even more remarkable: Alonso is the second rookie in MLB history to deliver at least 50 home runs in a single season. The first? Aaron Judge, who clubbed a jaw-dropping 52 homers for the Yankees in 2017.