After missing over a month of action – reportedly due to a hand injury – Alvarez returned to the field last week and absolutely raked his way through series against San Antonio and Frisco, going 13-for-31 with four home runs and a slash line of .419/.419/.839 (!) over that short span. The soon-to-be-21-year-old seems to have picked-up where he left off in early May, enjoying a breakout year with Double-A Corpus Christi thanks to more consistent power output and a still-steady on-base profile despite jumping a level after just two months in High A to close out 2017.
Alvarez boasts a powerful lefty swing with improved loft and more than enough strength to muscle balls out to the opposite field. He has a keen eye in the box and has done well working counts and finding pitches to drive across the zone, utilizing the whole field. The big-bodied corner stick can get too passive at times, however, forcing himself to work from behind and expand the zone with his weakest contact coming on rolled-over grounders versus the soft stuff. Still, his approach is impressively advanced for a player of his age and with his level of reps, and the overall developmental trajectory bodes well for his future as a potential impact bat at the big-league level.
There isn’t much in the way of defensive value tied to the profile, but Alvarez is competent in left field and should have enough stick to be at least an everyday guy regardless of whether he winds-up on the grass or in the dirt at first base. With no pressing need for a corner bat in Houston, the Astros have the luxury of giving Alvarez time to continue to hone his approach at the dish with an eye towards an MLB debut some time in 2019.