There’s nothing more Yordan Alvarez can do to be named an All-Star Game starter than what he’s done this season.
This is not to take away from what Shohei Ohtani has accomplished, but much of Ohtani’s media and fan attention comes from the fact that he’s a two-way player, something that hasn’t been seen since Babe Ruth, if you put the caveats of 100 IP and 200 plate appearances in a season on such players.
Look no further than the USA Today piece including Ohtani’s pitching numbers in their reasoning why the fans “got it right” in selecting Ohtani as the starting DH.
Two-way player has been an officially recognized roster designation since 2020 and it’s time these phenoms were recognized without punishing one way players that are having sensational — and dare I say generational — seasons.
Players such as Yordan Alvarez, who is primarily a DH, but also plays some left field, is one of those one-way players who has been punished as a result of Ohtani’s success.
Astros: If Yordan Alvarez isn’t deserving this season, when will he ever be?
A stat comparison of the two is not close. Alvarez leads in home runs, runs scored, RBIs, walk%, K%, average, OBP, slugging, wOBA, xwOBA, wRC+ fWAR, Barrel %, Hard Hit% xBA and xSLG.
Picking three of those stats is at once easy and not so easy. There’s so many to choose from, but which to choose?
Here’s 3 stats that prove Alvarez was robbed of the starting position at American League DH:
1. Yordan Alvarez is approaching historic OPS numbers
After Saturday’s loss to the A’s, Alvarez is sitting with an OPS+ of 201, meaning he’s produced twice as much at the plate as your average Major League player.
If that fact alone wasn’t enough to warrant an ASG start, excluding pandemic and strike shortened seasons, the last non-PED enabled player to finish with an OPS+ of over 200 was George Brett in 1980, 42 seasons ago.
Alvarez is doing something that hasn’t been done in more than two generations.
Ohtani’s OPS+ that sits at 138 is nothing to sneeze at, but it’s not in the same stratosphere as Alvarez, who leads the entire MLB, not just the American League.
Some see the basic OPS stat as just adding two other statistics together and don’t value it very highly. I tend to value it more highly as it shows the batter is not just a slugger, but also gets on base at a high rate. He’s not Joey Gallo, for example.
On the other hand, he’s not just an on-base guy, he’s also a slugger. He’s not Yandy Diaz, for example.
One look at the OPS leaderboard tells you these are the best of the best: Alvarez, Goldschmidt, Harper, Judge, Devers.
Yep, Alvarez leads MLB in OPS, too.