Eliezer Alvarez, a lefty who will be 22 years old when Opening Day 2017 rolls around, was named today as the #10 second baseman prospect by MLB’s 2017 Prospect watch.
He was recently added to the 40-man roster by the Cardinals to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft.
Alvarez broke out in 2016 to the tune of a .323 batting average (fourth highest in Midwest League), .404 on-base percentages (second highest), and .476 slugging percentage (third highest) along with 36 steals in 116 games for the Peoria Chiefs, the Cardinals A ball affiliate.
The 36 steals were a league high for the Midwest League in 2016, one better than the Detroit Tigers’ center field prospect Derek Hill, who was selected in the first round in 2014, and five more than teammate Magneuris Sierra.
The Cardinals undoubtedly have to be excited by that type of production, especially with speed being something the Cardinals team could utilize at the pro level.
As great as Alvarez’s production at the plate on the bases was for the 2016 season, the concern is that he is still working to improve his defense at second base (the Cardinals do have a coach named Jose Oquendo who just might be able to assist in that area), as he committed 27 errors in 2016 at second base.
Alvarez also ranked high in doubles as he was able to snag two bases an astonishing 36 times in 2016, ranked second, only behind Cubs left fielder prospect Eloy Jimenez of the South Bend Cubs.
While Alvarez would seem to have limited pop (six total home runs in 2016), he would seemingly profile as an ideal top of the lineup, middle infielder with line-drive power as he progresses through the ranks. With Kolten Wong currently projected as starting and holding down the keystone position in 2017, the Cardinals have to feel good that they have something developing with Alvarez at the lower levels.