Houston Astros Slugger Ranks Among MLB Legends In Mind-Blowing Stat

Houston Astros star Yordan Alvarez is already one of the greatest sluggers in MLB history.
Jun 7, 2024; Anaheim, California, USA; Houston Astros outfielder Yordan Alvarez (44) reacts after hitting a double.
Jun 7, 2024; Anaheim, California, USA; Houston Astros outfielder Yordan Alvarez (44) reacts after hitting a double. / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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Houston Astros fans (and baseball fans in general) know that Yordan Alvarez is a great player. He turns 27 later this month, and his trophy case is already stacked high with awards.

Over his first six MLB seasons, Alvarez has already copped an AL Rookie of the Year award, two All-Star selections, a Silver Slugger award, an ALCS MVP award and a World Series ring.

If he keeps it up and stays healthy, he'll likely have a plaque hanging in Cooperstown someday, too.

Still, there's a sense around the game that fans don't fully appreciate just how special Alvarez really is at the plate. Part of the reason is injuries have often kept him off the field, limiting his counting numbers. He's topped 30 homers three times but has never reached 40. He also only has one 100-RBI campaign on his resume and has never scored 100 runs in a season.

To truly understand Alvarez's greatness, one needs to look at his rate stats.

Through 550 career games entering Friday's matchup against the Detroit Tigers, he's a career .295/.387/.579 hitter, good for a .966 OPS and 164 OPS+. He's also homered once every 14.0 at-bats -- an elite ratio.

One stat that really stands out there is Alvarez's slugging percentage.

His .579 mark is the fourth-highest by a left-handed hitter in American League history, behind only a few well-known names from the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

The only three players ahead of Alvarez are Babe Ruth (.692), Ted Williams (.634) and Lou Gehrig (.632), all of whom are inner-circle Hall of Famers and on the short list of greatest hitters of all time.

Alvarez's number is even more impressive considering the context.

Ruth, Williams and Gehrig all debuted before MLB was integrated and retired before the AL's first expansion in 1961. They also never had to deal with night games, West Coast road trips, hard-throwing relievers and a number of changes that have altered the sport over the past century.

Looking at it another way, Alvarez has the best slugging percentage of any left-handed AL hitter who debuted after World War II.

That's pretty darn impressive.

Like many of his Astros teammates, Alvarez's numbers are down a bit this season.

His OPS has dropped 102 points from last year, but he's still batting a robust .293/.367/.521 with 14 homers and 35 RBIs. More importantly, he's been healthy, playing in all but one of Houston's 69 games so far.

Alvarez is off to a torrid start in June, slashing .395/.469/.907 with 11 extra-base hits and 13 RBIs in 11 games this month. After a slow April and May, he's back to hitting like one of the greatest batters who ever lived.

Tyler Maher


Tyler grew up in Massachusetts and is a huge Boston sports fan, especially the Red Sox. He went to Tufts University and played club baseball for the Jumbos. Since graduating, he has worked for MLB.com, The Game Day, FanDuel and Forbes. When he's not writing about baseball, he enjoys running, traveling, and playing fetch with his golden retriever.