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2021 Marlins Season Preview: Eddy Alvarez

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The former Olympian did his own Jim Thorpe in 2020, but what can we expect for a follow up in 2021?

New York Mets v Miami Marlins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

IF Eddy Alvarez

Opening Day age: 31 | Bats: both | Throws: right | Listed at 5-9, 185 lbs.

Purchased by the Marlins from the Chicago White Sox (March 29, 2019)


When Eddy Alvarez made his major league debut on August 5, 2020, though it didn’t seem like much, the then-30-year-old was in the midst of making history.

Miami Marlins v Houston Astros Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

A former speed skater who competed in the 2014 Winter Olympics, Alvarez became the first non-baseball Olympian to play in Major League Baseball since Jim Thorpe in 1919. Should Alvarez never step foot on a big league diamond again, this accomplishment alone makes his story one of the more endearing in recent memory.

Alvarez’s brief time in the show was personified by poor performance, posting a .189/.268/.219 (36 OPS+) slash line in 12 games. Following this, the team designated Alvarez for assignment on September 13th.

While he struggled offensively, Alvarez has a longer track record of success in the minor leagues, slashing .278/.375/.413 in 581 games across 6 seasons with the White Sox and Marlins’ organizations. At the major league level, these numbers compare most favorably to teammate Jon Berti, who finished with a .388 on-base percentage, and .350 slugging percentage in 2020.

With no one claiming Alvarez once he was put on waivers, Miami enters 2021 with Alvarez under team control through 2026.

The question, though, is what role, if any does Alvarez play on the 2021 squad?

Well, for starters, positional versatility could look to benefit Alvarez, though, as the 31-year old has experience at second, third, and shortstop over his minor and major league career.

Jesús Aguilar, Garrett Cooper, Lewin Díaz, the aforesaid Berti, Jazz Chisholm, Isan Díaz, Brian Anderson, and Miguel Rojas all look to factor into the team’s infield plans in 2021, leaving Alvarez’s place on the eventual 26-man roster up in the air. As is normally the case with any team, injuries will happen, which could open up a spot for Alvarez as a utility-man coming off the bench. And while the team believes Isan Díaz to be their second baseman of the future, his time in the majors - albeit brief - has produced just a 45 OPS+ and -1.0 rWAR in 56 games - though his 2019 season at AAA New Orleans shows he has nothing left to prove at the minor league level.


What’s Next?

Steamer projection: 1 PA

Baseball-Reference projection: 255 PA, 226 AB, .230/.311/.389, 8 HR, 28 RBI, 5 SB, 1 CS

Poll

How many plate appearances will Eddy Alvarez get in 2021.

This poll is closed

  • 63%
    0-50
    (31 votes)
  • 30%
    51-100
    (15 votes)
  • 6%
    101-200
    (3 votes)
49 votes total Vote Now