New York Mets #2 Prospect: Francisco Alvarez

Francisco Alvarez

The New York Mets have always found success in signing international free agents. They signed one of their best shortstops in team history in Jose Reyes and brought in other stars in Carlos Gomez, Nelson Cruz, and Edgardo Alfonzo. The Mets hopefully found another one with catcher Francisco Alvarez.

At 18 years old, Alvarez is the second-ranked prospect on the Mets and 63rd overall in MLB. He sits one spot behind top Mets prospect, Ronny Mauricio, who also was an international signing. Alvarez is a catcher from Guatire, Venezuela, and signed for 2.7 million dollars, which broke Marucio’s record of 2.1 million in 2018. In 42 minor league games in, Alvarez is a .312 hitter.

As a 17-year old, an anonymous Appalachian League manager per Baseball America had to say this on Alvarez.

“That’s what shocked me when I found out he was 17…You don’t see kids that young who can catch that well usually. Tremendous arm strength, and (he) shut down our running game.”

Strengths

There is a lot to like for what seems like to be the future Mets catcher. He has an excellent feel for the game both offensively and defensively. While his power may improve over time, Alvarez has tremendous knowledge of the strike zone and can consistently get his barrel on the ball with terrific bat speed.

Even at his young age, he can spread the ball to all parts of the field. Defensively, Alvarez is very flexible behind the plate. He has a strong and accurate arm to help limit the running game.

Weakness

The one area he needs to improve on behind the plate is his game-calling. That will likely come with experience. Alvarez also needs to work on receiving the ball better behind the plate to help his pitchers out.

Offensively, he tends to lunge at the ball quite often and is susceptible to swing and missing. Alvarez also does not run well and is built similar to teammate Rene Rivera.

Statistics

Alvarez started with the Gulf Coast Mets and hit .462 in seven games in seven games. He had a slugging percentage of .846 and an OPS of 1.395. His numbers continued to shine as he has promoted to rookie A ball.

In 151 at-bats in Kingsport, Alvarez showed off his power by hitting five home runs and driving in 16 runs. Despite hitting under .300, he had 20 walks to help him have a respectable .377 on baseball percentage. Alvarez also added ten doubles. Defensively, he has caught 229 innings and has thrown out nine of 23 runners.

MLB Comparison

While he may not rack up the gold gloves like Salvador Perez, they are built very similarly. They possess a very good bat at the plate with some pop and are not liabilities defensively.

With Wilson Ramos signed for the 2020 season, it will be interesting to see when Alvarez will be ready. Without a minor league season due to COVID 19, he will not see game action in 2020, and the Mets will have to decide if they go all-in on another catcher such as someone like J.T. Realmuto in the offseason.

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