The Astros’ best hitter will be remaining in Houston long-term.
The Astros did a very Astros thing by reportedly extending Yordan Álvarez. The Cuban masher receives the largest contract ever for a DH, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, who broke the news:
Slugger Yordan Álvarez and the Houston Astros are in agreement on a six-year, $115 million contract extension, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN. Contract kicks in next season. Biggest contract ever for a DH and $26M/year for 3 FA years. And Astros lock up a great hitter.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 3, 2022
The timing is somewhat odd, as most deals of this significance are not executed during the season, but it’s no coincidence that amid what is perhaps Álvarez’s most complete season, the Astros lock him up long-term.
A .272/.367/.574 slash line with 14 home runs (172 wRC+) is gaudy production through just 188 plate appearances, but Álvarez should be producing even better numbers, as evidenced by a .402 wOBA and .473 xwOBA, which is 100th percentile.
Álvarez is not only destroying the ball when he makes contact, but he’s making a lot more of it — he’s reduced his strikeout rate below 20 percent, which would be career-low for him in a single season.
Of the top hitters in baseball, few have a more compelling case as being the most complete than the 24-year-old Álvarez, who excels in every single aspect at the plate.
Though it’s a historic contract for a DH, Álvarez’s deal is arguably a team-friendly deal considering the total dollar figure and the elite level of output that he is likely to continue producing.
Buying out three of Álvarez’s free-agent years is quite the coup for James Click and Jim Crane, who did very well to keep their best hitter in Houston for several more years.