Why Yordan Alvarez's ALCS MVP performance shouldn't come as a surprise
If there was any doubt about just how good Yordan Alvarez was or how integral to the Astros' postseason hopes he has been, he answered those questions emphatically on Friday night.
In one of the biggest games of his career, the soft-spoken Alvarez let his play speak for him. He punctuated his ALCS performance with a 4-for-4 night in the clinching Game 6 included two doubles, a single, a triple an RBI and an important run scored on a heads-up play.
But looking at what he did over the entire series — not just Game 6 — helps paint a much fuller picture.
The 24-year old Cuba native had a record-setting series at the plate. He was 12 for 23 with a home run, six RBIs and a 1.408 OPS. He took home series MVP honors as a result.
"Everyone knows the quality of hitters that we have. And I think more so than winning MVP, just what it means to win this game for the team is most important to me," Alvarez said through an interpreter after Houston's 5-0 victory over Boston. "So I'm super happy for the guys."
Alvarez by himself outperformed the Red Sox over the final two games of the series, which was unprecedented.
Don't mistake Alvarez's youth for inexperience. He was a unanimous choice for 2019 AL Rookie of the Year thanks to a stellar regular season in which he played in just 87 games. Since his debut that year, his OPS is the fifth-highest in MLB; above him are household names such as Mike Trout, Juan Soto, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Bryce Harper.
Not bad company to keep.
He had an impressive postseason in 2019, too, specifically in the ALDS (.316) and World Series (.412).
He missed most of the 2020 season with a knee injury but came back even better this year. He played in 144 games and posted a 3.2 WAR while hitting .277/.346 /.531 with 33 homers and 108 RBIs.
Once again, that success carried into the postseason and specifically the ALCS.
What led to Alvarez's record-setting performance in the series? It could be a lot of things.
But the man himself will tell you it was something pretty simple.
"I was just really focused. The support I got from these guys and my team means everything," he said. "I was just focused on doing the job."
(Photo: MLB & Getty Images)