A dozen home runs in 43 games for New York Mets rookie catcher Francisco Alvarez has already helped him join a short list of catchers barely or not old enough to buy themselves a drink after the game. According to Sarah Langs, his home run on Saturday (which just landed by the way) put him fourth on the list of catchers 21 or younger.
The dinger had historic and some present day implications. It tied him for the second-most on the Mets roster with Francisco Lindor. It put him in another tie for the most among active MLB catchers.
Home runs from NY Mets rookie Francisco Alvarez are mammoth and historic
These aren’t cheap shots Alvarez is knocking. While his home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates could’ve taken out a satellite, this one earlier in the week versus the Atlanta Braves had a chance to leave Gwinnett County.
The much-needed power boost from Alvarez is exactly what the Mets need in the middle of their order this year. Now minus Pete Alonso, it’s time for the team to consistently give Alvarez the at-bats he has earned and deserves right in the middle. Having him hit ninth is an utter waste especially when your six, seven, and eight hitters are struggling as poorly as they are.
Already on track to possibly pass Johnny Bench and his 26 home runs as a 21-year-old in 1969, Alvarez has a long way to go to fully match what Bench was able to do in his career. Maybe best known for his defensive skills and all of the Gold Gloves he stole away from Jerry Grote, Bench was an even more impressive offensive player for the Cincinnati Reds. In his age 22 season, Bench set personal bests with 45 home runs and 148 RBI. He did have the benefit of playing first base and the outfield often. Throughout the 1970s, Bench was consistently appearing in as many as 160 games for the Reds. The easy answer for the Mets would be to use Alvarez as the DH.
First thing’s first. The Mets need to win a bit more. Having Alvarez play as often as possible seems to be an ingredient they can’t get enough of.