‘The willies’ as defined by Oxford English Dictionary is a fearful uneasiness of the guy on your street corner that wears a recyclable shopping bag for a shirt and tells you you’re going to hell. 2nd definition, fearful uneasiness of owning Pirate hitters in fantasy. We’ll be dealing with the 2nd definition; you’re on your own with the first one. Should all Pirate hitters give us the willies? No willies on The Dread Pirate. Robot Jones — occasional willies. Neil Walker — no willies for his position. Jose Tabata — no willies, but worried about willies for next year. Pedro Alvarez — some willies now, no future willies. There’s going to be a Pedro Alvarez sleeper post for 2011. I’m telling you now because, if you go into hibernation for five months and rub the crusties out of your eyes to see a Pedro Alvarez sleeper post in 2011, I want you to know I have not been talking about Alvarez for the last five months, it’ll only feel like that to you. Phew, was the longest run-on sentence ever or what? I blame Strunk & White. So what makes Pedro Alvarez a fantasy baseball keeper for 2011?
Here’s ten reasons: 1) I’m assuming you have him for cheap. 2) His position. 3) In 2008, Alvarez was the number two overall pick in the Major League Draft. The pedigree is there. This year he ranked as the 8th-best prospect, according to Baseball America, which is a superpower of prospect rankings that is currently in an extended conflict with Baseball Iraq. This high ranking came after Alvarez hit 27 homers in 126 games between Single and Double-A. 4) His only real caveat are his splits. He struggles vs. lefties. He’s young (23) and it’s not a big enough warning sign to back off him. 5) Golden rings. 6) The Pirates are committed to him and are already batting in a solid run-producing spot in the order. 7) He’s in no danger of losing playing time, which is kinda similar to point 6, but we’re trying to get to 10, so go with it. 8) Another caveat, his Ks are a bit murderous, but he’s always been a free swinger like that creepy guy on Craigslist. Can’t really fault a guy for doing what he’s always done while still succeeding. You’re not taking him in the first round with his Ks (yet), you’re keeping him late. 9) Was a terrible movie. 10) Next year, he’s going to have his ups and downs, but he could breakout and be a top 3rd baseman by 2012. Next year, you’re looking at a cheap 25-30 homer hitter at 3rd base with a wonky average. If Alvarez gets lucky on average, you could have a top 5 3rd baseman in 2011.