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Alvarez among week's outstanding hitters

Astros No. 3 prospect went 13-for-22 in strong stretch at Triple-A
Yordan Alvarez entered Monday tied for third in the Minors with 12 home runs this season. (Jim Redman/MiLB.com)
May 6, 2019

One of the Minor Leagues' hottest hitters in 2019 went unrewarded for his efforts in April, at least when it came to official awards. That has changed in May. Astros No. 3 prospectYordan Alvarez has been named the Pacific Coast League Offensive Player of the Week after going 13-for-22 (.591)

One of the Minor Leagues' hottest hitters in 2019 went unrewarded for his efforts in April, at least when it came to official awards. That has changed in May.

Astros No. 3 prospectYordan Alvarez has been named the Pacific Coast League Offensive Player of the Week after going 13-for-22 (.591) with a homer, four doubles, eight RBIs and five walks over six games for Triple-A Round Rock for the period of April 29-May 5. It's the first career Minor League Player of the Week honor for Alvarez, who's in his fourth professional season.

No player at Triple-A bested Alvarez's .591 average or .667 on-base percentage last week, while his 1.576 OPS in that span was second in the PCL behind only Oklahoma City's Kyle Garlick (1.667).

View the Pitcher of the Week winners »

The 21-year-old, left-handed-hitting slugger opened the week by going 5-for-8 with a homer, two doubles and six RBIs over a doubleheader at Oklahoma City last Wednesday, following rainouts on Monday and Tuesday. He also picked up multiple hits on Thursday in Oklahoma City (3-for-4, two doubles) and Saturday at San Antonio (3-for-4).
Alvarez ended the week ranked second in the Minors with a 1.372 OPS over 27 games with the Express. He also sat among the Minors leaders in average (.402, sixth), OBP (.496, fourth), slugging (.876, second), home runs (12, tied for third) and isolated slugging percentage (.474, second).

MLB.com's No. 41 overall prospect came into the season well-regarded for his overall offensive potential. He hit .293/.369/.534 with 20 homers in 88 games between Triple-A Fresno and Double-A Corpus Christi last season, and at 6-foot-5, 225 pounds, there was the belief that he could produce even more power as he grew accustomed to Triple-A pitching. With the way he's taken off, he's garnered plenty of attention as he pushes for a Major League debut, and the higher-ups in Houston have certainly taken notice.

"It's pretty clear he can hit right now in the big leagues," Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said Saturday, according to the _Houston Chronicle_. "I think for him to have the maximum impact on this team, we need him to be able to play a position and I do think left field is where he has the best chance to play for us, especially in our ballpark, and he is making strides."

Those questions about Alvarez's defense have dogged him since he entered the Astros system in August 2016 in a trade for Josh Fields, just a few weeks after he had signed with the Dodgers. He's played mostly left field in his Minor League career but isn't seen as an average outfielder on the grass, though he does have three outfield assists in 13 starts there this season. He's made six starts at first base, and it's possible he ends up there long-term or even at designated hitter.

One thing's for sure. If Alvarez keeps hitting like he did last week, the Astros will find a spot for him in the Major League lineup.

"If [Alvarez] is coming up, he's coming up to play, and if he comes up and hits .210, that's not going to help our team," Luhnow said. "I need to make sure he's going to help our team, but he certainly is making it a conversation, not just with our fans, but internally."

Below is the complete list of Minor League Offensive Players of the Week for April 29-May 5:

League Player Team MLB Stats
International Chance Sisco Norfolk BAL .565/.655/1.304, 6 G, 13-for-23, 2 2B, 5 HR, 15 RBI, 9 R, 5 BB, 3 K
Pacific Coast Yordan Alvarez Round Rock HOU .591/.667/.909, 6 G, 13-for-22, 4 2B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 9 R, 5 BB, 4 K
Eastern Jacob Heyward Richmond SF .389/.455/.889, 5 G, 7-for-18, 0 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 4 R, 3 BB, 5 K
Southern Jazz Chisholm Jackson ARI .300/.417/.900, 6 G, 6-for-20, 0 2B, 4 HR, 6 RBI, 5 R, 2 BB, 9 K, 1 SB
Texas Edward Olivares Amarillo SD .393/.433/.857, 6 G, 11-for-28, 1 2B, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 8 R, 1 BB, 8 K, 3 SB
California Taylor Kohlwey Lake Elsinore SD .609/.667/.783, 7 G, 14-for-23, 2 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 5 R, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 SB
Carolina Willy Yahn Frederick BAL .524/.524/.952, 5 G, 11-for-21, 3 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 4 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 SB, 1 CS
Florida State Moises Gomez Charlotte TB .438/.524/.813, 5 G, 7-for-16, 3 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 5 R, 4 BB, 4 K
Midwest Tucupita Marcano Fort Wayne SD .538/.586/.654, 6 G, 14-for-26, 1 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 SB, 2 CS
South Atlantic Rodolfo Castro Greensboro PIT .409/.458/1.182, 6 G, 9-for-22, 2 2B, 5 HR, 11 RBI, 6 R, 1 BB, 5 K

Sam Dykstra is a reporter for MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB.