New York Mets catcher Francisco Alvarez is turning into a star catcher that will be relevant for a long time. After an outstanding road trip, where he went 8-for-20 with three home runs and two doubles, Alvarez has changed the conversation surrounding National League Rookie of the Year.
Alvarez would be the seventh New York Met to win the National League Rookie of the Year, joining Tom Seaver (1967), Jon Matlack (1972), Darryl Strawberry (1983), Dwight Gooden (1984), Jacob deGrom (2014), and Pete Alonso (2019). So where does he rank in the rookie conversation in the Senior Circuit.
New York Mets catcher Francisco Alvarez is currently the bettors' third choice in Rookie of the Year at +800, but he really should be at the top.
The 2023 rookie class has turned out to be pretty strong so far, especially in the NL, where there have been several strong performances from NL West rookies, including Corbin Carroll of the Arizona Diamondbacks and James Outman of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are other top contenders because of Outman's power, and Carroll's power and speed combination.
But with Alvarez, we noticed a pattern throughout his career that many questioned how it would translate to the big leagues. That pattern was that Alvarez would start really slow at the next level and then turn it on. In Double-A Binghamton, he went 29 straight games without a home run from mid-April to late May, but from May 26 onward, he clubbed 14 home runs in 32 games, sending him up to Triple-A.
The same thing happened in Triple-A last summer, where he batted .167 in his first 31 games in Triple-A then .380 over his next 14, paving the way for a debut last September. The same thing has happened in the majors, as he hit .194 in April with one home run, then in May, he batted .309 with 7 home runs, which is a great sign for Alvarez.
So where does Alvarez rank among NL rookies? He ranks first with a .288 ISO, a .558 slugging percentage, a wRC+ of 142, and an .885 OPS, is tied for 2nd with 8 home runs, 2nd with a 1.4 Fangraphs WAR despite playing 17 fewer games than Carroll and Outman, and 3rd with a 5.2 Fangraphs defensive rating.
In addition, he likely already has the Rookie of the Month for May locked up, as he ranks third among all National League players in Fangraphs WAR, trailing just Freddie Freeman and Juan Soto and no other rookie is close. Alvarez would be the first catcher to win a Rookie of the Month award since the recently-DFA'd-by-the-Mets Gary Sanchez did it for the Yankees in August 2016.
These numbers are those you don't see often from catchers in today's game. And he would be the first catcher to win Rookie of the Year in either league since Buster Posey won it in 2010 for the San Francisco Giants.