Yordan Alvarez, Cuba, Houston Astros
9am EST Matthew Tallarini, Chief Correspondent WORLD BASEBALL NETWORK
Yordan Alvarez, born in Las Tunas, Cuba, has been a premier player at the major league level since his rookie season in 2019. Alvarez’s legacy began at 16 in the Cuban National Series league during the 2013-2014 season, where he played for his hometown ball club Lenadores de Las Tunas, before leaving the island. Yordan Alvarez didn’t live up to his full potential during the first year of the Cuban National Series as he batted .196, in 114 plate appearances, with no home runs, and just nine runs batted in 34 games for the season. Alvarez would achieve a productive season playing in 40 games during 2014-2015 before seeking to leave Cuba. He batted .351, in 125 plate appearances, with one home run, and 17 runs batted in.
Alvarez defected from the island in 2016, going to Haiti to establish residency. When he was in Haiti, Alvarez met fellow future major leaguers Yuli Gurriel and Lourdes Gurriel, who also left Cuba to chalk up potential careers for themselves. After staying a few months in Haiti, Alvarez would travel to West Palm Beach, Florida, the spring training home site of the Houston Astros, to train and have MLB regional scouts come to attend his workouts. Houston Astros scout Charlie Gonzalez lobbied for Alvarez to be signed with the organization. The Astros passed on taking Alvarez, resulting in the Los Angeles Dodgers acquiring him during the international signing period of June 2016 for $2 million. A few months later, the Dodgers needed relief pitching in August, and they traded Alvarez to the Astros for pitcher Josh Fields. Alvarez did not step onto a professional ball field until his 2016 Dominican Summer League debut with the Astros. During his first season, Alvarez hit .341 in just 16 games with 57 plate appearances, beginning his journey in the organization.
Yordan Alvarez has been a workhorse all year for the Astros. During the regular season, Alvarez batted .306, with 37 home runs, and drove in 97 runs in 135 games during his fourth major league season. During his MLB career, Yordan has a lifetime average of .296. Alvarez stepped into the major league circuit in 2019, playing 87 games, batting .313, with 27 home runs, and 78 runs batted in in his slated rookie year. Alvarez was named rookie of the year in the American League in 2019. Last year during the American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox, Alvarez was named MVP in the Astros World Series run, putting up a .522 batting average, placing 12 hits, driving in six runs, and one homer. This season Alvarez was selected to his first all-star game for the American League. The Houston Astros are appearing for the second straight year in the Fall Classic, looking to take home the World Championship for the second time in their franchise’s history.