PORT ST. LUCIE — Francisco Alvarez gained’t flip 20 till subsequent offseason, by which era he hopes to have already performed his first main league sport for the Mets.
The catcher, the group’s prime prospect, divulged his purpose for the season Friday earlier than a exercise at minor league camp.
“Make it to the bigs,” Alvarez stated via an interpreter. “That’s the purpose this 12 months.”
Alvarez, baseball’s No. 10 prospect, based on MLB Pipeline, must present he’s prepared behind the plate if he’s going to have an opportunity at attaining that purpose. Offensively, the early signs have been positive — he had a slash line of .272/.388/.554 with 24 homers and 70 RBIs final 12 months in 99 video games for Low-A St. Lucie and Excessive-A Brooklyn. However solely 59 of these video games got here at catcher (he was additionally used at designated hitter), because the group seemed to maintain him recent in his first actual full season.
It’s doable he’ll start this season at Double-A Binghamton, though the Mets might additionally resolve to first give him further reps with Brooklyn, the place he performed 84 video games final 12 months.
The Mets signed the Venezuelan in 2018 for $2.7 million, a franchise-record bonus for a global participant. It was a part of a global market philosophy carried out by Sandy Alderson, throughout his tenure as basic supervisor, by which the group seemed to signal higher-end prospects (Ronny Mauricio obtained $2.1 million the earlier 12 months) as a substitute of spreading out the Mets’ bonus allotment over dozens of gamers. Underneath GM Brodie Van Wagenen the Mets reverted to spreading out their bonus cash over many gamers. However following Alderson’s return as staff president, the Mets are once more pursuing higher-end gamers within the worldwide market. These fruits needs to be harvested subsequent offseason, as worldwide gamers typically attain agreements with groups one or two years earlier than formally signing.
Alvarez carries a sturdy frame — he’s listed at 5-foot-11 and 233 kilos.
“I’ve been engaged on my physique, working within the weight room lots and dealing on my protection and simply all the things, as a result of I wish to compete,” Alvarez stated.
The Mets have sought a long-term solution behind the plate since Mike Piazza departed following the 2005 season. Since then, the staff has employed principally a mixture of veterans and gamers developed via the system who loved solely transient success. A high-profile commerce acquisition, Travis d’Arnaud, spent a lot of his Mets tenure on the injured listing, however has since developed right into a reliable catcher for the Braves. The Mets will head into this season with James McCann (who obtained a four-year deal price $40.6 million in December of 2020) and Tomas Nido behind the plate.
Alvarez confirmed a flash of his potential in spring coaching final 12 months when he homered towards Jacob deGrom throughout a simulated sport. Alvarez nonchalantly flipped the bat as he realized the ball was about to clear the right-field fence.
“That’s one thing I’ll always remember,” Alvarez stated.