Setting expectations for Omar Narvaez in 2023

Cincinnati Reds v Milwaukee Brewers
Cincinnati Reds v Milwaukee Brewers / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

Nobody had Omar Narvaez on their radar for the New York Mets this offseason. The 30-year-old catcher is coming off of a rough year with the Milwaukee Brewers in what has been a much better career for this often overlooked catcher.

Narvaez is one of those catchers who blurs the line between starter and platoon plater. He joins the Mets with a .258/.343/.386 career slash line. He’s not such a bad hitter, especially when compared to the rest of the league.

The Mets didn’t sign him to hit in the middle of the order. He’s an upgrade on offense, but also someone they can trust behind the dish. In year one of maybe two seasons with the ball club, what can we expect from him?

Setting our expectations for Mets catcher Omar Narvaez

As attractive as his career slash numbers are, Narvaez struggled in two of his three seasons with the Brewers. More notably than the bad year in 2020 in only 40 games is how he did with Milwaukee in 2022.

Narvaez played 84 games, stepped up to the plate 296 times, and delivered a .206/.292/.305 batting line. It’s not all that much better than what James McCann gave the Mets. Why make the change?

Narvaez was an All-Star in 2021. He hit .266/.342/.402 for the Brewers spanning 123 games and 445 plate appearances. He also knocked 11 home runs, the second time in his career of reaching double digits.

There is some power in his bat. The Mets haven’t stumbled onto a Mike Piazza, but maybe about 10 long balls is a reasonable expectation if he reaches 400 plate appearances. The Mets may not plan to let him play that often. The left-handed hitting catcher will probably sit in favor of Tomas Nido whenever the opposing teams starts a southpaw in 2023.

A catching platoon of Narvaez and Nido is something to expect. Narvaez would get the majority of starts with Nido handling every lefty starter and then some. The exact number of games this shakes out to be should still have Narvaez topping 100 games played. It’s something he has only done twice in his career.

Something I’d be curious to see with Narvaez is if his approach at the plate changes at all as a member of the Mets. The Brewers are a very different team. They’re a high home run, low batting average club. The Mets are quite the opposite.

Anything over a .230 batting average would be a delight for us at this point. Narvaez has consistently gotten on base with walks, adding another quality to really like about him. Discipline and quality at-bats is what we should expect. His 2022 season seemed to be a great outlier from what he did in the past. Although no one should predict he’ll have All-Star numbers or hit 22 home runs like he did in 2019, it’s safe to expect good defense and an uptick at the plate from what McCann gave the club last year.

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