I don't know if people should be scared yet, but some tempered concern is probably appropriate at this point. After a monster September last season, most people expected Pedro Alvarez to break out in a big way with the Pirates in 2011. But Alvarez hasn't just struggled to break out, it seems like he's regressed in practically every facet of his game. And yesterday, the Pirates announced that they've demoted him to Triple-A in order to free up roster space for Jose Tabata.
After hitting 16 homers with a .256/.326/.461 line in 95 games with Pittsburgh last season, Alvarez was supposed to anchor Pittsburgh's lineup this season, but he's followed that up by hitting just .196/.264/.284 with 3 homers in 56 games this year He's still a below-average defender at third base, too, leaving him as an utterly worthless player when the bat isn't working.
There's still hope, though. Alvarez is still just 24, he's still a former No. 2 overall pick, and he's still flashing the tools that have enabled him to have such a high pedigree. In 18 games with Triple-A, he's hit .365/.461/.587 with a triple, three doubles and three homers, so the Pirates are clearly hoping that bashing lesser pitching for a few weeks will get him confident and back on track.