Could Jeff Luhnow give himself Yordan Alvarez as a birthday present this weekend?
Despite multiple injuries, the Astros still have a 41-20 record and are nine games up in the AL West. When the team was healthy, they did an excellent job building up a lead to lessen the blow. Typically, teams battling injuries play .500 ball, but the Astros keep winning series. After sweeping the Athletics, they won again last night behind Josh Reddick and four solid innings for Framber Valdez. Robinson Chirinos absolutely crushed a homer as well.
They are doing this without Jose Altuve, George Springer, Aledmys Diaz, and Carlos Correa. You would have thought that the Astros would have panicked and brought up Yordan Alvarez to add a power bat to the lineup missing three stars. However, that is not how Jeff Luhnow rolls. He is very deliberate and patient about things when it could affect money down the road.
Instead of bringing up Alvarez, they brought up some depth options in Jack Mayfield, Myles Straw, and Derek Fisher. We will see who goes once the boys come back to town, but most Astros fans have enjoyed watching Straw’s elite base running skills. Straw is also one of the most added players in Fantasy Baseball after his three–stolen base game.
When is the Super 2 cutoff?
No one really knows when it is, but it tends to fall around Jeff Luhnow’s birthday. The Astros think long-term before short-term, which is the only reason Alvarez has not been promoted. Also, will we see Kyle Tucker in 2019? He is hitting well, but the Astros may hold out on him to slow down his arbitration clock with the entire outfield becoming free agents after 2020. They will need Tucker to be part of the long-term future, but all the focus right now is on Alvarez.
Fans have been calling for Alvarez’s promotion for a while, but Luhnow has been patiently waiting. Triple-A pitchers are not even giving Alvarez anything to hit anymore. They are intentionally walking him. Opposing AAA pitchers, like Astros fans, are waiting for him to get promoted. During one at-bat, Alvarez was so confident he would be walked that he didn’t even bring a bat to the plate. He took the walk, and just jogged straight to first base.
Luhnow is probably getting annoyed by the constant questions about promoting Alvarez. This weekend he made a statement in the above Tweet concerning the situation. There is no rush to bring up Alvarez, with Michael Brantley playing left field. Also, Alvarez hasn’t shown them he can play first base. However, he added at the end that it was just a matter of time. How does Friday work for you?
Has the time come?
If you listen to Talking Stros, you have heard my co-host Brandon telling me often that Alvarez will be Luhnow’s birthday gift to himself this year. Luhnow’s birthday is Saturday, so expect Alvarez to be promoted on Friday and be in the lineup on Star Wars night. Like they did with Alex Bregman, the Astros will find a place for him to play. Whether it’s first base, left field, or as the designated hitter, they will find a way to get his bat into the lineup.
Don’t think of Alvarez as the everyday designated hitter, but he may get a majority of his starts there. Alvarez is batting .357 with 22 homers and 65 RBI while sporting a 1.213 OPS with 43 strikeouts and 34 walks. That is a good season for a major league hitter. Prospect evaluators are also high on Alvarez: MLB Pipeline listed the third-ranked Astros prospect as 44th in their top 100.
If the allure of the Max Stassi X-Wing Bobblehead is not enough for you to go to Friday’s game, what if Alvarez is making his debut as well? Maybe Luhnow made that statement to throw off fans and media — in other words, a smokescreen. Either way, Talking Stros is staying firm about Friday. Just imagine how deep a healthy lineup with Alvarez will be. But we could be wrong; when do you think Alvarez will make his debut?