Francisco Alvarez has shown a lot of signs of potential greatness this season for the New York Mets, and not all such signs are coming from his bat.
And he got a tremendous compliment from a future Hall of Fame pitcher and one of the leaders of the players across Major League Baseball from Max Scherzer in a lively press briefing that discussed Alvarez's impact on the team and other topics.
New York Mets pitcher Max Scherzer said that catcher Francisco Alvarez has an "it" factor to him, and he is right.
After throwing seven innings of two-run (one earned) ball in the Mets' 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies yesterday, Max Scherzer was asked about what makes Alvarez so good, he said that the "it" factor of the 21-year old catcher was why, and he discussed several things that make great catchers from instincts to his strong throwing arm to calling great games, and he still has more room to grow with an eagerness to learn.
Because, let's face it. The biggest knack on Alvarez's game according to the pundits over the past year and a half was his defense behind the plate. And Alvarez made all of those takes freezing cold over the past month, as his metrics have been outstanding. Entering yesterday's action, Alvarez ranked in the 86th percentile in framing according to Baseball Savant, and his game has been consistent in all areas of the strike zone.
And Alvarez continues to show great battery chemistry with Max Scherzer that has been developing since last summer when Scherzer was rehabbing in Double-A while Alvarez was still developing there.
Scherzer turned in his second straight start of seven innings for a team that needed their pitchers to go deep into games, and he had Alvarez behind the plate in both of them. It is now safe to say that the battery will be teamed up for Scherzer's turns in the rotation for the foreseeable future.
And we saw the latest example in yesterday's victory over Philadelphia, as his framing was on point. In one of the most critical at-bats of the game, in the top of the ninth inning it was Brooks Raley pitching in relief with Philadelphia's Kyle Schwarber at the plate as the tying run. Raley threw a 3-2 sinker outside the strike zone that Alvarez framed brilliantly to get home plate umpire Tripp Gibson to call a controversial third strike. It was a bad call that should have allowed Schwarber to walk to first base, but it would not have happened without Alvarez's framing of the pitch that stole an out.
Alvarez has also silenced the folks that believed Alvarez would be sent down to the minor leagues when Tomas Nido and Omar Narvarez returned from the injured list. Now it is likely that Nido's days as a Met may be numbered and Alvarez has the opportunity to be one of the premier catchers in baseball for the forseeable future.