Pedro Alvarez, the Pittsburgh Pirates' $6 million draft pick last year and one of the most heralded prospects in minor league baseball, was promoted to the Altoona Curve late Sunday night.
Alvarez immediately will become the biggest name - from a prospect standpoint - ever to wear a Curve uniform when he makes his debut Tuesday night in Erie. The Curve are off tonight.
"It's bringing a lot of excitement here to Altoona and also to our lineup," Curve manager Matt Walbeck said. "To have Alvarez hitting in the middle or top of our order and playing third base, it's going to be an exciting time for us."
The 22-year-old Alvarez will make his Blair County Ballpark debut Friday when the team hosts Bowie.
"We're really looking forward to having Pedro up here with the Curve at Blair County Ballpark," general manager Rob Egan said. "We think our fans will be very excited about it.
"Certainly he's a guy that everybody's watching and will be with the Pirates before too long, we would suspect, if he keeps hitting like he has been."
Alvarez was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 first-year player draft out of Vanderbilt University. He received a signing bonus of $6 million and began his professional career in April at Single-A Lynchburg.
Alvarez batted just .247 for the Hillcats but was a run-producing machine, belting 14 homers with 55 RBIs in 66 games.
"The halfway point is kind of a natural progression for guys who have shown what they needed to do in the first half," Pirates player development director Kyle Stark said. "In Pedro's case, it's a situation where he's gotten the rust off, he's gotten out and competed and has made the adjustments that we've asked him to do.
"He's continued to improve throughout the first two-and-a-half months, and we feel like he's ready for Double-A."
Alvarez will be expected to provide a big boost to a struggling Curve team that is 21 games below .500 with a 24-45 record.
"He definitely takes pressure off a lot of guys in our lineup," Walbeck said. "He's a presence with his left-handed bat, he's got power, he can hit to all fields."
Mirror Staff Writer Cory Giger is at 949-7031.