HomeTeamsAstrosOrange Crush: Yordan Alvarez Looks To Continue His Hot Hitting In June

Orange Crush: Yordan Alvarez Looks To Continue His Hot Hitting In June

Yordan’s May swoon has ended in June.

That’s what Astros fans proclaimed after Yordan Alvarez hit two lightning blasts off of Minnesota starting pitcher Joe Ryan into the right field seats during Saturday’s 5-2 win over the Twins. Statistics also back up this poetic claim, as Alvarez is a career .335 hitter in the month of June. In 78 games played during the month of June in his career, Alvarez has collected 92 hits, including 14 doubles and 28 home runs; he’s knocked in 85 runs. Having hit just two home runs in all of May, it was a welcoming sight to see Alvarez launch a couple of home runs in Houston this weekend, reminding the Astros’ faithful what he can do when he’s on his game.

Acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2016, Alvarez got called up to the major leagues just three years later. He won Rookie of the Year in 2019—capturing all 30 1st place votes—with a .313/.412/.655 season; he mashed 27 home runs and knocked in 78 runs in just 87 games. All that was good enough for 3.7 WAR, (tied for ninth on the team with Carlos Correa. The highlight of his rookie season was a three-homer game against the Baltimore Orioles, a game the Astros would win 23-2. At the time of that Astros-Orioles game, Alvarez was off to a historic start, as he had recorded 51 RBIs in first 45 career games, “besting Ted William’s record of 47 set during his rookie year in 1939.” During the 2019 postseason, Alvarez’s power numbers dropped, as he only hit one home run and knocked in three runs over three postseason series. However, he hit decently for average (14 hits in 58 at-bats) in that span, as the Astros would lose a heart-wrenching seven game World Series to the Washington Nationals, in which the road team won every game of the Series, the first time that happened in any postseason in the four major professional sports’ leagues.

While Alvarez only played in two games in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season before he underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on both of his knees, he was fully healthy by Opening Day 2021. That year, Alvarez came ready to play, as he slashed .277/.346/.531, while mashing 33 home runs and 35 doubles; he knocked in a career-high 104 runs, while scoring 92 of his own. That October, Alvarez won ALCS MVP honors as he hit over .500 with one home run and six RBIs, as the Astros defeated the Boston Red Sox in six games to advance to their third World Series in five years. However, unfortunately, for the Astros, Alvarez had a lousy World Series (he only recorded two hits in twenty at-bats), as the Astros lost to the Atlanta Braves in six games.

Alvarez collected some hardware in 2022, as he was selected to his first All-Star Game, won a Silver Slugger award, and finished third in MVP voting. On the field, Alvarez had his most complete offensive season yet. He slashed .306/.406/.613 (for an OPS of 1.019 and an OPS+ of 188), and mashed 37 home runs and 29 doubles. He knocked in 97 runs, and scored 95 runs of his own. Alvarez had a decent postseason in 2022. However, he will forever be remembered for his go-ahead three-run home run off of Philadelphia Phillies’ reliever Jose Alvarado in Game 6 of that year’s World Series. That home run proved to be the winning margin, as the Astros won the game 4-1, and the Series, 4 games to 2, collecting their second World Series title in franchise history.

Last season saw him limited by injuries to his right oblique. He missed more than a month of the season recuperating from that injury. Though he only appeared in 114 games, Alvarez had an incredible season. He slashed .293/.407/.583 with 31 homers, 24 doubles, and 97 RBIs. He scored 77 runs, walked 69 times, and only struck out 92 times. He was unstoppable in the 2023 playoffs. In the ALDS against Minnesota, he hit .438 (7 hits in 16 at-bats), crushed four homers and two doubles, knocked in six runs and scored seven runs of his own. He didn’t stop there as he accounted for a lot of the Astros’ offense in the seven-game ALCS loss to the Texas Rangers. Alvarez launched two homers, knocked in nine runs, and slashed .481/.531/.778 in that series.

Entering Tuesday’s contest against the St. Louis Cardinals, Alvarez has already accumulated 1.9 WAR (good for third on the team). He’s collected 66 hits, 12 home runs, 32 runs scored, and 27 RBIs. His slash-line is .287/.362/.496/.857 (for a 145 OPS+). He is tied for first on the Astros in doubles (12), is second in home runs and OPS+, and is 4th in batting average. 

Despite these totals for the season, Alvarez experienced a power outage at the plate during the month of May. He only hit two home runs after belting seven home runs in March and April. Besides his slugging percentage, his slashline was fine at .283/.361/.415. He recorded 30 hits in 106 at-bats, including 8 doubles, but only knocked in 4 runs throughout May. The lack of RBIs in May could be attributed to the fact that Alvarez has hit poorly with runners in scoring position this season. On the year, Alvarez is hitting a woeful .160 with runners in scoring position. His OPS in these situations is a devastatingly low .547, over 300 points lower than his season OPS. In 50 at-bats with runners in scoring position, Alvarez has only hit one home run and knocked in 11 runs.

Advanced statistics paint a confounding story that shows just how great Alvarez has been in seasons past.Alvarez is experiencing his lowest exit velocity (92.9 mph) since his rookie season (92.8 mph), though Statcast has him ranked in the 95th percentile in exit velocity, and 94th percentile in bat speed. He’s experiencing the lowest hard-hit percentage of his career at 47.3%, 5% lower than last year; though he’s ranked in the 84th percentile in barrel percentage, according to Statcast. His rate statistics (line-drive rate, ground ball rate, and fly ball rate) are nearly identical to last season. He has a 22.9% line-drive rate (0.5% higher than last year), a 35.1% ground ball rate (a career low), and a 36.2% fly ball rate (0.5% higher than last year). He’s also hitting the ball to the opposite field more than ever at 19.7%.

Astros fans hope that last Saturday’s two-home run game is a sign of more stellar things to come for Yordan Alvarez. With Kyle Tucker slowed down by an injury to his shin, Alvarez will look to carry the team offensively these next couple of games. Hopefully, better luck comes for Alvarez when he hits with runners in scoring position. As Alvarez’s career statistics show, June will be his month. Hopefully, for Astros fans, June will also be the month that the Astros finally climb their way back into playoff contention.


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