Monday, March 3, 2014

#192 Pedro Alvarez

#192 Pedro Alvarez
First impression of what’s going on: I’m as big a fan of horizontally laid out cards as it gets, but in my opinion, this one probably could have been your standard vertical card. The crowd shot would have been cool if everybody was on their feet, pumping fists and whatnot, but some of them hadn't gotten the memo yet that Alvarez just launched one. That’s what I’m guessing happened anyway.

PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 03: Pedro Alvarez #24 of the Pittsburgh Pirates bats against the Philadelphia Phillies during the game on July 3, 2013 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The Reality of the Photo: After my last post had a most informative caption, we have the other end of the spectrum with one of the least. No final score, no inning, nothing even noting a home run. We've got the two teams and the date but I guess that’s good enough to find the BOXSCORE.

A two-out rally was squashed in the 9th and the Pirates were able to hang on for the victory.

With no indication of the inning for the Alvarez photo, I’ll go to the inning recap and see how he did in each at-bat.

Alvarez leads off the second with a single but gets stranded at third despite the Pirates loading the bases with no outs. I don’t think too many players would watch a single like this so I’m going to say this is probably not the at-bat featured.

Second at-bat, Alvarez strikes out swinging. Unless he’s watching a jumbotron replay of the pitch that got by him, I doubt it is this at-bat either.

Following three straight singles in the bottom of the fifth, Alvarez hit a three run home run to deep CF-RF, breaking the 1-1 tie. I think we have a winner.

Just to be sure, in the bottom of the 6th inning, Alvarez struck out swinging again.

The black Pirates jersey is listed as an alternate jersey.

So much for being an alternate. Of the 7 different uniforms the Pirates wore in 2013, they wore this one the most.

On to the back:

Rookie Fact: Pedro drove in a run in seven straight games, August 4-11, 2010.

I think it’s pretty good to get into seven straight games as a rookie, let alone drive in a run. And not only did he drive a run, but in two of those games, he drove in three.

I was only somewhat familiar with the ESPN Home Run Tracker (Free Advertising, on the back!) so I decided to look a little more into it. After finding Pedro Alvarez’s page, there are some neat statistical breakdowns. A scatter plot of his home runs. A list of all of his NL leading 36 home runs with info on the opposing pitcher, ballpark, inning, distance and a ton of other stuff.

Here's how they breakdown each of the three types of home runs.

Now, I’ll admit that even before the steroid era, I was more of a fan of small ball than home run power, but this kind of statistical analysis leaves me downright giddy. There are even video links for each one and here is the video from the home run depicted on the card.

Sorry, the embedding didn't work. Here's a link instead.

Information I’ll be tracking:

Card Number: #192
Player Name: Pedro Alvarez
Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Position: Third Base
Game Date: July 3, 2013
Opponent: Philadelphia Phillies
Stadium: PNC Park
Division: National League Central
Home/Away: Home
Outcome of the game: 6-5, Pirates over Phillies
Alternate/Throwback Jersey: Yes
Bats/Throws: Left/Right
Birthdate: 2/6/1987
Birthplace: Dominican Republic
Cameos by: N/A
Photographer: Justin K. Aller
Niche collections this card could fit into: Alternate Jersey, Horizontal, League Leader in Italics, Free Advertising (ESPN), Former First Round Draft Pick, Partial Southpaw

My Grade: This card has a lot going for it. It led me to some great nerdy statistics. Funny enough, the one thing holding it back from getting an A+ is something I generally give bonus points for, the horizontal layout. As I mentioned, this would have looked much better as a vertical card, and I don’t say that lightly. It still gets a solid A, which is a pretty good grade for a NL Central, non-Cub card.

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