The Mets will promote catching prospect Francisco Álvarez prematurely of the staff’s pivotal weekend collection towards the Braves, reviews Daniel Álvarez Montes of El ExtraBase (Twitter link). The 20-year-old is without doubt one of the sport’s finest minor league abilities, checking in sixth on Baseball America’s most up-to-date Prime 100 prospects listing.
It’ll be the primary main league name for Álvarez, who entered the skilled ranks as an beginner signee out of Venezuela. One of many higher prospects within the 2018-19 worldwide signing interval, the 5’10” backstop has solely raised his inventory in professional ball. He hit very properly in rookie ball throughout his first minor league season, however he misplaced a 12 months of recreation motion with the cancelation of the minors in 2020. Álvarez opened the ’21 marketing campaign in Low-A however rapidly proved himself far too superior for the extent, and he spent many of the 12 months in Excessive-A.
Álvarez hit .247/.351/.538 with 22 dwelling runs in 84 video games at that degree, astonishing manufacturing for a 19-year-0ld catcher. It vaulted him close to the highest of prospect lists getting into this season, with Álvarez cracking the preseason prime 15 at Baseball America, The Athletic, ESPN and FanGraphs. He opened the 12 months at Double-A Binghamton and linked on one other 18 round-trippers in 67 video games. His general .277/.368/.553 line throughout 296 plate appearances earned him a bump to Triple-A Syracuse in early July.
The minors’ prime degree has given Álvarez his hardest problem up to now, however he’s nonetheless usually held his personal. Over 199 plate appearances there, he carries a .234/.382/.443 slash with one other 9 homers. He’s placing out at a career-worst 26.1% clip, contributing to the mediocre batting common, however the remainder of his profile has remained robust. Álvarez has walked in a stellar 17.1% of his journeys to the plate there, and he’s collected six doubles along with the longballs.
Between the 2 higher ranges, Álvarez owns a .260/.374/.511 line with 27 homers and 22 doubles over 495 plate appearances this season. That wonderful displaying has been sufficient to persuade the Mets entrance workplace he can maintain his personal towards large league arms, even at his age. Putting in him right into a pennant race and instantly prematurely of the Mets’ largest common season collection of the 12 months is a robust present of religion, however Álvarez has carried out properly at each rung on the ladder up to now.
Joel Sherman of the New York Put up tweets that the membership is more likely to break him as a right-handed possibility at designated hitter. The Mets acquired Darin Ruf from the Giants on the commerce deadline in hopes he may fill that position, however that acquisition hasn’t but panned out. Ruf has a putrid .152/.216/.197 line in 29 video games as a Met. He hit a serviceable .216/.328/.373 in 314 plate appearances earlier than the commerce, however his struggles since touchdown in Queens have led to some questions on how supervisor Buck Showalter will use the DH position. Fellow deadline acquisition Daniel Vogelbach has excelled since coming over from the Pirates and can proceed to choose up the enjoying time towards right-handed pitching. Álvarez provides Showalter an alternative choice to the struggling Ruf for at-bats towards left-handers.
It doesn’t appear probably he’ll step instantly in as the first catcher, nevertheless. The Mets have veteran James McCann because the starter, with Tomás Nido backing him up. McCann is hitting solely .190/.256/.264 in 180 plate appearances, his second straight down 12 months offensively. The veteran has rated as a barely above-average defender, and he’s drawn robust evaluations for his work with the pitching workers. Sending Álvarez behind the plate for the ultimate few video games of the season is greater than the entrance workplace and training workers seems to be comfy with, significantly given McCann’s longstanding familiarity with the workers.
Scouting reviews on Álvarez have lengthy recommended he’s extra of a bat-first catcher. That’s largely a testomony to his offensive potential, however evaluators have expressed some concern about his protection. BA’s scouting report notes that he’s had some inconsistency as a pitch framer and ball blocker. The outlet additionally means that Álvarez’s plus uncooked arm power can play down due to some flaws in his throwing mechanics.
There’s basic optimism that Álvarez can finally iron out these considerations and turn into no less than a reliable defender. That’s extra of a long-term query, although. The speedy urgent subject for the Mets is whether or not he could make an affect offensively. New York enters the weekend set holding a one-game benefit over Atlanta. New York would additionally maintain the tiebreaker over the Braves if they will take even one of many three contests, in order that they’d head into subsequent week on the prime of the division except they get swept. Securing their first NL East title since 2015 would include a corresponding first-round bye, making these last six contests essential.
Álvarez’s promotion for such necessary common season video games raises the chance he’ll additionally crack the postseason roster. Solely gamers on a staff’s 40-man roster by September 1 are routinely eligible to partake within the playoffs. Nonetheless, gamers in a company however not on the 40-man by September 1 can be added to a playoff roster rather than somebody on the injured listing through petition to the commissioner’s workplace. That scenario is pretty widespread each postseason, so the Mets shouldn’t have a lot subject getting Álvarez onto the playoff roster in the event that they want.
New York should add him to their 40-man roster earlier than tomorrow night’s recreation. Their roster is at present full, in order that they’ll must make a corresponding transaction. He’d have been added to the 40-man after the season anyhow to maintain him from being taken within the Rule 5 draft, so there’s little hurt in bringing him up a number of weeks early. Álvarez will accumulate his first few days of main league service however received’t be eligible at no cost company till after the 2028 season on the earliest. His quickest path to arbitration-eligibility is after the 2025 marketing campaign, and it’s actually attainable he’ll spend extra time within the minors sharpening up his protection and no less than delaying his free company trajectory.
Within the meantime, Mets followers will get their first glimpse at a participant they hope to be a key piece of the franchise’s future. McCann is below contract for 2 extra seasons, due $12.15MM yearly via 2024. It stands to purpose Álvarez may have a chance to supplant him on the depth chart in some unspecified time in the future subsequent 12 months. For now, he’ll get his toes within the majors as a bat-first possibility for the stretch run — with some postseason motion maybe on the horizon.
Picture courtesy of USA Immediately Sports activities.