Currently ranked the number one prospect in the Mets organization and the number one prospect in baseball by a number of scouting organizations, Francisco Alvarez is on the very cusp of his major league career. The Mets brought him up to play in a small handful of games at the end of the season to attempt to catch lightning in a bottle with regard to the lack of production from Darin Ruf and the MLB learning curve of Mark Vientos. This was a tough minority role with the majority of the DH duties covered by Daniel Vogelbach.

While he remained on the major league roster through the Wild Card round, Buck Showalter never felt comfortable bringing Alvarez into a game despite having a lack of production from Tomas Nido and a start from Ruf. Being at the game on 10/9 and seeing the complete and utter lack of Met offense it was infuriating to think that the Mets had a bullet in the chamber that would go unspent. Yet, the season is now over and we’ll never know what might have been.

The Mets are hoping that Alvarez will soon (next year) be ready to take over the starting catching duties for the beleaguered pair of Nido and James McCann. Unfortunately, for the Mets, McCann is signed through the 2023 season and has already fallen in the depth charts behind the light hitting Nido. This means that the Mets are actually faced with a tough decision on Nido’s arbitration as, even as cheap as he’ll be, the Mets don’t need two backup backstops.

At 5’10” and 233 Lbs Francisco Alvarez doesn’t look like an Aaron Judge style adonis. He’s a “stocky” catcher with a low center of gravity. If you’ve seen Alvarez hit and play, you’ll note that he uses his physicality to good effect both behind the plate and when hitting. Anyone who watched the replay of his first major league home run could see the raw power he has. Still only 20 years of age Alvarez has proven his quality and caliber over the past three seasons (with one lost year) over six levels of the minor leagues.


Alvarez has defied expectations throughout his minor league tenure. At the age of 17 he was assigned to Kingsport and the GCL for his major league debut, instead of to the DSL as expected. Beyond this, the Mets watched as the young catcher absolutely lit up these two leagues of older competition.

With 2020 a lost year of development and with the minor leagues contracted, the Mets assigned Alvarez to Low A Port St. Lucie to begin his 2021 campaign. His 15 games at this level obliterated expectations again as the 19 year old destroyed the pitching in Low A and earned an early promotion to High A Brooklyn. The numbers in Brooklyn were far less awe inspiring but left fans with plenty of reasons to be optimistic.

This past season saw Alvarez assigned to AA Binghmaton alongside Brett Baty and Ronny Mauricio. Again, he quickly distinguished himself as being better than expected and again earned a fairly early promotion to the next level. There, while he struggled in the month of August but shone in the month of September. He came up for a handful of games at the end of the season and, while he struggled in his games against the Atlanta Braves (the whole team did), he showed us a glimpse of what is to come against the Washington Nationals.


Alvarez has a solid contact swing but shouldn’t be looked at for a batting title thanks to his power swing approach. He should translate to the major league level as a player who should maintain a batting average between .250 and .275 with a decent amount of walks. It’s actually the walks that make his contact work and why he rates so highly against a player like Ronny Mauricio. Alvarez has a pretty good grasp of the strike zone and does know how to take a walk. His minor league career OBP is over .100 points higher than his batting average and that is a nice healthy amount for it to be.


If you’ve seen Alvarez connect with a baseball you know he has power. He hit 27 home runs in AA and AAA this past season and capped off the year with a 28th in the majors. Pete Alonso showed more power in 2018 but he was also four years older. Alvarez looks like he has 30 home run power and that the Mets will be happy to utilize him as a DH on days that he cannot catch.


Speed is not one of the weapons that Alvarez has at his disposal. He does run better than Alonso and Jon Oleud (for that matter) but he’s a shorter stocky player and he rumbles down the basepaths. I will say that Alvarez stays engaged and is smart about taking advantage of teams that let their guards down as he showed me in Brooklyn when he stole a sneaky base.


Is Alvarez as good defensively as Nido or McCann? Probably not. Both Nido and McCann rank as plus defenders at their positions where Alvarez is truthfully an average defender. He has a strong arm and reasonable instincts around the plate but I would anticipate being a little disappointed when held in comparison to the others. That being said, when the Mets had Mike Piazza, we were fine with mediocre (and worse) defense from our backstop.


There is a reason that we look at Alvarez as a “Top” prospect. The outlook is really really good with stardom as an expectation. What we have seen in his time coming up through the system suggests that this is possible and that the Mets should be very happy with what they ultimately get from him. The issue, as I mentioned, is what the Mets do with Nido and McCann already on the roster. It’s possible (though it would greatly upset many) that the Mets start Alvarez back in AAA and roll out the same light-hitting duo to start their season.

10 comments on “Mets Minors: Offseason deep dive on Francisco Alvarez

  • Footballhead

    I totally disagree regarding the Mets keeping Alvarez in AAA next season. And as proven with Cano, I don’t see the organization dumping McCann and his contract before the season starts being an issue. With free agency looming for others on the team, and a payroll that (probably) be even more astronomical, a cheap Alvarez is a no brainer. I like Nido as the backup, and I would like to see Alvarez catch 2/3rds of the games next year. Since all three bat righty, there isn’t even an issue of a lefty bat behind the plate. I do agree though, Alvarez should be the RH DH when he’s not catching.

    • deegrove84

      Please understand that I’m not suggesting what I’d want there and merely what I could see the team doing. You will remember that the team very much kept Cano on the team to start the year despite him being all sorts of useless. Note also that whether you play him or not, you are paying James McCann in 2023. Nobody will pay his contract and you won’t get anything for him. This means that Alvarez doesn’t actually make the team cheaper.

      As far as I’m concerned, Francisco Alvarez should have gotten some of Nido’s wasted at bats in the playoffs. I have Alvarez as the starting backstop for the Mets on my offseason plan. In fact on this entire series you’ll likely see the outlook for a player not being the outlook I personally want.

      FWIW, I allow Nido to walk because it’s a small cost savings (despite liking him more than McCann). Mets need pitcher money. Lots of pitcher money.

    • Mike W

      I would love to see Alvarez as the starting catcher next season. How about .250 with a .325 OBP, 20 HR and 80 RBIs. That is a huge upgrade at catcher and power bat.

      Nido really did improve. But, he is a good reliable backup catcher. McCann should be gone before spring training.

      Plus, by far, Nido is the best bunter on the team.

      I am looking forward to see what magic Eppler can come up with to rebuild this roster for 2023. Judge would be a coup. If not Judge, I would sign Trea Turner and let him play center field.

      We also need a real DH, not a facsimile pair of Laurel and Hardy. Plus, who in the world is going to pitch?

      I do have real hope with Eppler. Somehow, we need to shrink the talent gap with the Braves.

      • Metsense

        I hope Alvarez is the catcher for for Mets In 2023. Offensively he would be an up grade. The Mets can’t offensively afford to have a repeat of catcher position. Alvarez is the solution. McCann is the back up because of the two year commitment. Nido should be non-tendered.

        • deegrove84


          We are in full agreement on this… has that happened before?

  • BrianJ

    I’m glad the Mets didn’t trade Alvarez. He’s going to be a star, whether he’s the full-time catcher in 2023 or not.

    McCann is bad and if it was an option, I’d send him to Triple-A. I’d rather keep Nido as the backup, even if that means eating the rest of McCann’s deal.

  • NYM6986

    I believe they will start the season with McCann, Nido and Alvarez on the MLB roster with Alvarez first serving as the prime RH DH. Alvarez has more to learn about catching and who better to teach than two good defenders? If they can move McCann that would be great. His contract is considered cheap by most standards even for a backup on another team. Hard to liken Alvarez’ catching with the less than super catching of Piazza as MP was a game changer. Eppler failed to come up with a game changer at the trade deadline, instead filled in with some useful parts, at least initially. I blame our demise on our starters failing to hit in crucial series like the lost weekend against the Braves. It becomes easier all the time to understand why Steve Cohen spoke about his 3 to 5 year plan for making the Mets annual contenders. We need to continue to follow the pattern set by the Dodgers and the braves were they develop talent bring them up to the big team and sign them for long contracts early on in their careers. We need to take that route with Alonso and McNeil. Anyways, thanks for the in-depth look at Alverez and hoping he is the first of a string of new players we can bring up from the farm system to make our team younger and stronger. Not very impressed with Baty or Vientos and wondering if Mauricio can play OF to go along with his quick bat and speed. To think Nido is our best hunter is truly sad as is our inability to steal bases last year. So, great season with a crappy ending. Or perhaps it’s the curse of Buck who always brought his teams to the edge of greatness but not able to snag that ring. 2023 can’t come soon enough. LGM

    • Metsense

      McCann was paid the 4th best salary for a catcher this year.
      The most expensive back up catcher , 31st on the salary list, made $1,75m. Most back up catchers, 46-60 on the salary list , made the minimum salary. If they can trade McCann then they would have to eat in salary. Nido will be 29, projected to make $1.6m in arbitration and can speak Spanish. Alvarez doesn’t speak English. McCann will be 33. Nido is the better fit as a back up and a mentor. Alvarez should be the starting catcher, not the primary RHB DH, His defensive skill will grow with experience.

  • Jimmy P

    My hope is that Alvarez catches 60 games and DHs 80 games in 2023.

    I think the glove back there is critically important and he needs to develop slowly, over time.

    Defense matters.

    • deegrove84

      Hey Jimmy,

      Thanks for reading. Again, I think there is a misconception about Alvarez being “bad” defensively. Alvarez projects as an average defensive catcher with plus hitting and power. I think sharing time with a defensive catcher is likely, whether its Tomas Nido, James McCann or, in a few years, Hayden Senger.

      Offense is also important and maximizing the offensive output of the team needs to be looked at. The Mets get the most offensive bang for their buck having Alvarez in the lineup as a catcher and another viable DH in the lineup instead of having Nido or McCann and their nearly automatic outs (and frequent GIDP).

      1. Brandon Nimmo, CF
      2. Starling Marte, RF
      3. Francisco Lindor, SS
      4. Pete Alonso, 1B
      5. Brett Baty, DH
      6. Francisco Alvarez, C
      7. Eduardo Escobar, 3B
      8. Jeff McNeil, 2B
      9. Mark Canha, LF

      is better than…

      1. Brandon Nimmo, CF
      2. Starling Marte, RF
      3. Francisco Lindor, SS
      4. Pete Alonso, 1B
      5. Eduardo Escobar, 3B
      6. Francisco Alvarez, DH
      7. Jeff McNeil, 2B
      8. Mark Canha, LF
      9. Tomas Nido, C

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