Francisco Alvarez needs to move up in the Mets lineup and this is where he should hit

New York Mets v Chicago Cubs
New York Mets v Chicago Cubs / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages

The complaints about the New York Mets starting lineup have been out of control in the last week, and for good reason.

Players like Tommy Pham and Daniel Vogelbach play entirely too much while Mark Vientos has been strapped to the bench. Everyone wants to see the kids play, and Buck Showalter should give them that chance.

Two of the three kids who are up with the Mets play virtually every day. Brett Baty plays third base most of the time while Francisco Alvarez catches whenever he can. The problem is lineup construction. Baty hits fifth most of the time, which is good. Alvarez in the meantime, can't get out of the nine-hole, and I have no idea why.

NY Mets catcher Francisco Alvarez needs to move up and should be hitting sixth

It's become abundantly clear that Francisco Alvarez should not be hitting ninth anymore. He's become not only one of the best hitters on the team, but one of the best catchers in baseball.

Alvarez is slashing .263/.327/.505 with six home runs and 13 RBI on the season. He has a WRC+ of 130 which ranks third on the team behind only Pete Alonso (143 WRC+) and Brandon Nimmo (137 WRC+). Alvarez ranked ahead of Nimmo before Nimmo's huge performance yesterday.

Alvarez has been the third-best bat in the Mets order by WRC+ this season but has been even better in the month of May. He's slashing .305/.388/.644 with five home runs and 11 RBI this month. He has a 181 WRC+ in the month of May which not only leads the Mets by a wide margin but ranks 14th in all of baseball among hitters with at least 60 plate appearances this month. He's developing into a star right in front of our eyes and it's beautiful to see.

The Mets offense, while better of late, remains underwhelming. The team ranks 18th in runs, 19th in OPS, and 16th in home runs. Using one of their best hitters in the nine-hole, limiting his at-bats with runners on base and his at-bats in general, is definitely a contributing factor.

The easy solution here is to swap Alvarez with Starling Marte. Leave the top five of Brandon Nimmo, Francisco Lindor, Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, and Brett Baty as is, and insert Alvarez right behind them. Simply swap Alvarez and Starling Marte. It's time.

Marte was an all-star last season but he just hasn't done much of anything at the plate in 2023. He has a .594 OPS and has one extra-base hit in the month of May. That extra-base hit was a huge home run against the Guardians, but that's it.

The reasoning Buck Showalter gave for keeping Alvarez, one of the team's best hitters in the nine-hole is that he's doing well there, and he likes having Brandon Nimmo hitting behind him. This presumably is because Alvarez would see better pitches having a good hitter behind him.

I don't think this argument makes any sense. Is Alvarez only capable of hitting because he has Nimmo behind him? I agree that he likely does see better pitches, but wouldn't you want to put a struggling hitter like Starling Marte there so he can see better pitches and get going? Does Alvarez have to struggle to move up in the order since you can't move him when he's doing well?

This Mets team has been inconsistent all season offensively and is an underwhelming group in the power department. Alvarez is a power hitter catcher who can drive runs in at a high level if given the opportunity.

His numbers with RISP aren't great, but it's impossible to ignore the progression he's made in that regard. Does anyone remember the three-run homer he hit to tie the game against the Rays? Or the RBI single to tie the game against Cleveland? Both with the Mets down to their final outs against elite relievers. The awful Josh Hader at-bat is a distant memory.

Give Alvarez more at-bats and more at-bats with runners on. I don't want solo home runs, I want three-run homers. I don't want huge Marte at-bats, I want huge Francisco Alvarez at-bats. Move the kid up. He's earned it.