NY Mets storyline: How good can Francisco Alvarez be? And could he make history?
Speaking of Alvarez, the Mets’ new starting catcher has begun living up to the hype as one of baseball’s top 10 prospects heading into the year. After slumping to a .151 batting average and .534 OPS in June, Alvarez became a catalyst for the team’s 6-2 stretch to close out the first half, hitting .379 with five home runs over those eight games.
Still just 21 years old, Alvarez entered the break with more home runs than any catcher in MLB, putting him on pace for a bit of history in the process. Only Hall of Famer Johnny Bench hit more home runs as a catcher in his age 21 season (or younger) with 26, a mark Alvarez seems poised to surpass if he remains healthy.
History aside, Mets fans should remain focused on the bigger picture for Alvarez and whether he can truly become a cornerstone piece for the franchise. The early returns are encouraging – and perhaps more so on defense, where Alvarez has more than held his own. His strike framing metrics and pop time to second base both ranked in the top third of the league at the break.
The Mets have had their share of All-Star catchers throughout their history, although that hasn’t been the case in recent years. With more experience, Francisco Alvarez is a prime candidate to resurrect that trend.