Cubs News: Ranking the NL Central’s First Basemen

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Aug 24, 2014; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers right fielder

Ryan Braun

(8) beats out an infield hit as Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman

Pedro Alvarez

(24) fields the throw in the first inning at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Pedro Alvarez – Pittsburgh Pirates

With the breakout season of Josh Harrison, Alvarez will find himself at first base in a mostly full-time role. The benefits for himself and the team are enormous, as he was not a consistent fielder and made more than his share of errors at the hot corner (110, seventh in active 3B).

But what he lacks in the field – at least at third – he makes up for at the plate. When playing full-time, Alvarez is more than capable of a 30 home run season, as he’s done twice now (’12 and ’13), and driving in between 80 to 100. The issue for him becomes contact.

While he has a career slugging percentage of .435, his on-base of .307 is directly attributed to his strikeout rate. He led the NL in 2013 with 186, but that was also his All-Star season. So it’s clear that he can be an effective presence, even with the strikeouts.

Finding a spot in the lineup will be one of the deciding factors to his production. In Alvarez’s case, it’s not about where to put him to benefit his numbers, but where to NOT hurt production of others. But even with a position change, he should still be considered a threat at the plate with his power.

2015 Steamer Projections – .242/.316/.447, 24 HR, 71 RBIs, 1.7 WAR

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