The New York Mets are positionally rich when it comes to the backstop. They have two significant players that occupy the catchers spot; these two players were both at one point on the Mets' top 30 prospects list, one of them is New York's main catcher on the 40-man roster, and the other is up-and-coming. This comparison is between Francisco Alvarez and Kevin Parada.
The Mets scored big-time in the 2018 international signing period where they struck a deal valued at $2.7M with Francisco Alvarez, the 13th ranked prospect in the signing period. Kevin Parada was another strong prospect selection, as he was drafted in the first round, 11th overall by the Mets out of Georgina Institute of Technology.
Francisco Alvarez vs Kevin Parada
Let’s start with the Mets go-to catcher, Francisco Alvarez. Visually, this is a player with tools beyond the generic scope of his position. He’s raw in everything he does, and has gotten his major league polish with some decent time in the show this season. Alvarez also has some relative scouting comparisons.
In a very present season in the major leagues, the statistics weren’t exactly intriguing, but they were a start towards projection. He appeared in 123 games with 423 plate appearances. He recorded 80 hits, 63 RBIs, and scored 51 times. His hurtful numbers were his strikeout-walk ratio, where he struck out 110 times, and only walked 34 times. What really highlighted his tools was the 25-home run spot he put up this year. He batted a .209 with a .284 on-base percentage and a .437 slugging percentage.
His offensive projections for 2024 put him at a similar performance to this season; this is due to the consideration that his time will be split behind the dish. Defensively he put up a .986 fielding percentage with 870 put-outs on 926 chances.
Francisco is aggressive offensively, protecting his counts and jumping early on counts. He looks fastball high and away and has a strong swing with bat-speed that applies raw power on each hack. He can use the entire field and is considered a power bat with the ability to hit home runs. Defensively, Alvarez has a strong arm, good pop, and works well behind the dish, controlling his portion of the running game. He can toss it from the pop or from the knees. Alvarez is physically comparable to Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez.
Kevin Parada on the other hand is up and coming, and highly anticipated. He’s ranked 5th of the Met's 30 top-ranked prospects, and he’s also ranked 89th of MLB’s top 100 prospects. Parada spent his 2023 season between three levels: A, A+, and AA. His numbers are above average with 457 at-bats, 54 RBIs on 14 home runs, and 101 hits. Further to this, Parada competed in the Arizona Fall League he had nine RBIs on 13 hits and three home runs. Defensively he put up a .988 fielding percentage with 746 putouts against 804 chances.
Parada is 5’11” 197lbs with an athletic frame, and a heavy-strong set lower half. Like Alvarez, Parada has an aggressive approach with a bat-timing mechanism, and leg kick and a protective swing, guarding the zone in vulnerable counts. His aggressiveness leads to hard line-drive hits across the entire field, going gap-to-gap and forcing extra-base hits. Parada has proven to have plus-power for a catcher, with the ability to go yard regularly. His defense is in its development stage, in a positive light. He is a good receiver and pops well with a good throw down to two. His footwork is developing and will improve his game behind the dish.
The duo between these two players will be key for the future of this team. Alvarez’s next two seasons will tell a lot about his tools while Parada is expected to show up in the league by 2025 latest. These two players will be at par eventually with regard to tools and numbers. Parada seems more conditioned and athletic while Alvarez may find his offensive tune more consistent with aggression and exposure in the league. In the long run, both players will end up being all-stars. Alvarez will ultimately be the first-string with Parada being the split.