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N.L. Only League Power Source: Pedro Alvarez

In 2012 Pedro Alvarez belted 30 home runs and had 85 RBI. This was no fluke. For 2013, in NL-only formats, Mr. Alvarez has a reasonable shot to be the only third baseman to go yard 30 or more times. Pedro is a source of power you wait for in drafts, and who can pay dividends for fantasy owners in 2013.

Justin K. Aller
I am writing this on Super Bowl Sunday. For me, that means NCIS reruns and catching up on some Fake Teams posts that I did not get a chance to read yet, this week. Life is good. Monday it gets better because Super Bowl Sunday also means that tomorrow (Monday, for the calendar-challenged) is the official beginning of Fantasy Baseball Draft season. Notice the capital letters giving this momentous day the emphasis it deserves. Have you done your position rakings yet? Not to worry. We here at Fake Teams got you covered. We are currently looking at AL and NL-only leagues, which by their very nature are challenging, but can be particularly troublesome when trying to evaluate players at talent-scarce positions like third base. In the National League, for instance, there is only one player that I believe has a reasonable chance to give you 30 or more home runs from the third base slot, and that is Pedro Alvarez.

2012 was a wonderful season for Alvarez owners. His batting average was nothing to write home about, but his 30 homers and 85 RBI were very nice, especially considering you probably got him very late in the draft. The power should come as no surprise. In 2009 he hit 27 home runs and batted in 95, between A and AA in the Pittsburgh minor league system. In a little over half a season in 2010, he hit 16 home runs in the major leagues. So last year's 30 was right on cue. All Mr. Alvarez needed was the opportunity, and he delivered.

All is not gum drops and roses, however. That power comes at a price; and that price is batting average. Mr. Alvarez is a fantasy conundrum. He has a wonderful walk rate, but very little plate patience. In 2012 he walked 9.7% of the time, and of those 55 base on balls, only 6 were intentional, so that walk rate is legit. Pretty good for anyone, but especially a power hitter. And, he does this every year. In fact, the lowest walk rate in his professional career is the 9.2% he posted in 2011, in the major leagues. However, along with the joy he gets from watching the pitches he does not like, go into the catcher's mitt, he apparently gets even more joy swinging at pitches he does, in fact, like, but unfortunately, he whiffs at a very high rate. In 2012 he struck out 30.7% of the time. The technical fantasy baseball term for that is "terrible." Like the aforementioned power, this whiff-rate is no surprise. In general, he has struck out between 23 and 30 percent of the time, depending on what year and what level one looks at.

So, overall, what can fantasy owners expect in 2013? I think they can expect another 30+ homerun season, to go with 82 RBI. And, I think there will be some slight regression in the batting average, giving him a .231 mark, but season's end. That said, you may be able to wait on that power. Some owners may not want to carry that batting average on their roster. If you plan to draft Pedro, you will need to compensate for his average, in some fashion, but he is certainly rosterable, in all formats, especially NL-only.