How will Alvarez stack up against other high-profile call ups?

How will Yordan Alvarez's first season in the bigs go?

Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

We're one day into Yordan Alvarez's career, a day where he went 1 for 3 with a huge two-run home run for his first hit, but what many fans will want to know is: how will he look weeks and months from now once he has more experience under his belt? Conversely, how will he look once more of the league's top pitchers have faced him one or multiple times?

Let's take a stroll down baseball's memory lane and consider how some other highly-acclaimed prospects, both for Houston and around the league, did over their first 10, 25, and even 50 games in the majors.

Jose Altuve

If you've watched Astros baseball over the last few years, chances are at some point you've seen the video highlight of Altuve's first hit. It came in his very first game back on July 20th, 2011, but how did he fare after that? He performed excellently over his first ten games, recording a .371 average by going 13-for-35 over that span including two three-hit games.

He continued to hit well through his first 25 games, but would plateau a bit at the end of the 2011 season, going 14-for-67 in September to drag his average down to .276 to end the year. We all know that he's since become a hitting machine and AL MVP, but it was a case where he had initial success out the gate, then had to deal with pitchers adjusting to him with more exposure.

Alex Bregman

Contrary to Jose Altuve, Bregman had a much slower start to begin his time in the majors. Bregman did not record his first hit until his sixth game, and past that still managed only two hits over his first ten games, giving him an abysmal .053 average over that span.

Luckily, the team was patient with him, and he quickly turned things around. After his first 25 games, he had improved his average rapidly to .229 thanks in part to six multi-hit games over that span. He continued to adjust and build up discipline at the plate, ending the 2016 season with a .264 average and has gone on to stay near the top of the league in on-base percentage.

Carlos Correa 

Alvarez should try to get some of Correa's time in the clubhouse for tips and pointers because Correa's burst on the scene in June of 2015 was excellent and steady. Correa was able to check a hit off his list in his first game and went on to get hits in nine of his first ten games including four multi-hit games and also hitting three home runs in that span.

Correa would continue to provide reliable offense for Houston the rest of that year, finishing the regular season with a .279 average and racking up 68 RBIs along the way after his June 8th debut. He'd cap off his rookie season by going 7-for-24 with 4 RBIs and a two-homer game in the 2015 playoffs.

Others around the league

Those were some of the recent Astros debuts that garnered a lot of attention, but who does Yordan Alvarez have to compete against as he gets compared to other successful call-ups across the league? Well, let's take a look at the two Rookie of the Year winners from last season, Ronald Acuna Jr. and Shoehei Ohtani.

First, Ohtani is a two-way player, so part of his debut and overall potential is shaped by his work on the mound, but let's take a look at his early numbers offensively. Ohtani did well in his first few games for the Angels, getting hits in eight of his first ten games, including getting his first hit in his debut and hitting for a .342 average over that span. He'd finish his rookie campaign with a .285 average, 22 home runs, and 61 RBIs.

Acuna had a decent start for the Braves in early 2018, getting his first hit out of the way in his first game on his way to going 13-for-42 for a .310 average over his first ten games. He'd regress slightly from that through his early months, dropping down to a .265 average before an injury sidelined him for most of June. After his return, though, he was a steady and reliable bat, finishing his rookie year with a .293 average.

What does all this mean for Alvarez?

Well, it proves two things. First, players like Yordan who have shown their potential at AAA deserve some patience if they don't hit dingers in every single game. See the above telling of Alex Bregman's poor start. Second, if he does come out of the gate quickly and replicates his crazy minor-league numbers against major-league pitching, it will be vital for him to find his steady, natural rhythm so that he can be a reliable contributor to the team and not plateau later and be a flash in the pan.

In any case, it will be an exciting time watching the early development of Yordan Alvarez. It will be especially intriguing to see if he's still in this lineup and making his presence known after the return of Houston's big guns in Altuve, Springer, and Correa. If Springer didn't already homer at the top of the lineup, chances are someone in the top of the lineup will get on base to give Alvarez plenty of opportunities for RBIs and multi-run homers this season.

"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing."

- William Shakespeare

You might wonder why there is a puppy picture on a story about the Astros scandal. This little beauty is my Dalmatian, Dynamo. Why is she here? To distract you. To dazzle you. Who doesn't love a puppy picture? Who cares if it has anything to do with the story? She made you look.

And the point is...

Sadly, that is the role of the media these days. Please listen to my rant. Please click on my story. Who cares if the headline isn't accurate? None of that matters. Look at me! I need likes and retweets!

The Astros cheating scandal is the latest story to be overblown, overanalyzed and overexposed. Why? Page views. Ratings. A failing media.

Exploring every angle

None of that is meant to excuse the team. Let's be honest; the Astros cheated. They will be punished, and they should. Draft picks, fines, suspensions. All are possible, and whatever they get is probably warranted.

And that is where the story should end. But that is not what the world is about anymore. It has to be endlessly debated. Pictures of a laptop on a table become the Zapruder film. There HAS to be a conspiracy. Every detail has to be debated. Which side you come down on depends on your biases.

Stupid takes

Some have even said the Astros should be stripped of their World Series title. This isn't college. It's a dumb, look at me take. It will never happen. This is not Avengers: Endgame where you can enter the quantum realm and change the past. It is real life, where events can't be changed. Did the cheating help them win? Who knows? You still have to hit the ball, even if you know what is coming. And it did not make a difference for the Astros pitchers. And harkening back to the steroid era, how do you know the other teams did not do it too and just did not get caught?

The big argument about PEDs was "oh, look at the big numbers the hitters put up." But how do you know the pitchers weren't doing it, too? The same goes here.

Truth is, you don't know. Which is why results can't and shouldn't be changed. Period. To suggest it is just dumb.

More stupid takes

On the Astros fan side, the defenses are just as silly. "They did nothing wrong. Where is your proof? Why aren't there other players coming forward?"

As an aside, let's not leave out the great misleading phrases. "Due diligence." (In other words, we know this is a bad idea, but we want to sound like we know what we are doing). "Witch hunt." (Yes, I am guilty, but this is how I deflect it).

As another aside, if you find an actual witch on your hunt, let me know. I always wanted to meet one.

They cheated. Period. And they will be punished. But the point is not that at all. It's to find every possible angle to get people to read and react. To care more about something than we should, when there are far more important things we should be riled up about. But you are being told to care, so you will keep clicking. It's the new normal, where reporters make themselves the stories and insert themselves into it. And that's why they turn stories like this into major issues. For their own benefit.

Nothing new

This is just the latest media distraction. The Patriots deflated balls saga was the most overplayed, overanalyzed scandal in sports history. Why was it so important? Because hot takes, web sites and analysts told us so. Many hinted at even bigger conspiracies. Why? Because we are a society dazzled by puppies.

Just this past weekend, the entire Colin Kaepernick story was over reported from all sides. The NFL was just doing a PR move. He just wants to be a martyr.

The NFL's waiver was broken down word by word.

Over a guy who hasn't played in three years.

The reason? He gets page views and clicks. And ratings. We keep getting told how important every aspect of the story is to our lives. In truth, it's just another distraction, a false narrative created to keep us dazzled and up in arms. Do we really care about these things? And if we do, what the hell is wrong with us?

Just like the Astros scandal. Is it a bad look? Of course. Are they guilty? Sure looks like it. But punish them and let's move on. We get it. They banged trashed cans. But punishment is never enough. People have to post pictures that might be something. Videos that might be something. Emails that might be something. Add it all up and it doesn't make things any worse. It just creates talking points. And people wonder why so many people consider the media - and social media, as the lines are completely blurred - "fake news."

In the end...

It's not fake news. It's misguided attempts to to keep us coming back for more. And too many of us fall into the trap. We are too distracted by everyone telling us these things are so important that we keep clicking. It takes on a life of its own, and then any theory is possible. Any conspiracy is possible. So we keep reading and digging and we are immersed in it. Look at this! Click on me! In a few weeks the Astros will be the most evil organization that ever lived and should be disbanded. And some of you will believe it and buy in, because that's how distractions work. And once we are distracted? We can believe anything.

Hence the picture of Dynamo. To distract you. By the way, did you notice one of her spots looks like Mickey Mouse? Let the Disney conspiracy begin. We shall start our own tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury.

And we all know what that signifies.

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