Francisco Alvarez. Have there been two sweeter words in the New York Mets minor league system in the past few seasons?
The organization’s top catching prospect and perhaps best minor leaguer of all is this 19-year-old catcher from Venezuela. Already in High-A with the Brooklyn Cyclones, Alvarez is well ahead of schedule.
At this time of the season, you may read a lot about other team fanbases wanting to trade for a player of his abilities. Not so fast. Alvarez is as untouchable as it gets.
There’s no chance the Mets trade their untouchable catching prospect
The Mets will need to sacrifice some prospect talent in order to get better this year. Alvarez won’t be one of the names we see changing organizations. Catchers like this do not come around often.
Throughout the history of the Mets, the catcher’s spot has been a strength. Whether it was the defense of Jerry Grote with a well-above-average bat to match or the utter dominance with the stick Mike Piazza provided, there’s a rich history of talented catchers to wear the blue and orange.
Before James McCann arrived this year, there was a bit of a drought behind the plate. Even he has underperformed to the standards many had envisioned. I’ll give him the benefit of time to figure things out before completely dismissing him.
Currently the 34th ranked prospect in baseball according to MLB.com, he may be a once-in-a-lifetime catching prospect for this organization. I’m not yet sure his future is strictly behind the plate. More Piazza than Grote on defense, it’s always possible we see the Mets move him to another spot where he can save his legs. For now, it’s best to continue to see how much he can develop.
I do suspect there will be some growing pains with Alvarez along the way. Let’s not forget how average offensively Yadier Molina was early on in his career. The opposite could occur with Alvarez. Maybe he takes a little more time to develop his skills on defense while making up for it behind the dish.
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Whatever it is you believe Alvarez turns into, it is clear to me that he’s as untouchable as you could make a prospect. Young and with a bat coming from a position you don’t always get much offense from, it’s a game of waiting to see how good he can be. The Mets will want to see this up close.