We wrote about Parada last season and nothing has changed about his biography except he is another year older and another league more advanced. While watching another Met catching prospect (who is younger than him) ascend to the majors, he spent most of his year in Advanced A.
2023 was a slightly down year for Parada in terms of value but his scouting and pedigree are still good enough to make him in the running for the overall position of Top Prospect in the organization. The reality was that he had a slow start to his season in April before catching on strongly in May, June and July. Then, at the worst moment, he was hurt and needed to rehabilitate in Port St. Lucie before the Mets finally promoted him to AA. His numbers in Binghamton bounced around but he ended strongly and with the injury we can hand-wave that to a degree.
What makes this a down year is that he was expected to blow Advanced A out of the water and force a promotion far sooner than July. There was an argument that he could have begun the year in AA but the Mets held him back. A .248/.324/.428 slash for the year isn’t bad, particularly for a catcher, but it isn’t something that says “superstar” either.
Parada’s hitting numbers are negatively affected by the injury and early struggles in AA but the .265 average in Brooklyn seems consistent with the level of contact to expect out of him. I think contact and patience are the one area where he projects better than Alvarez.
Nobody should say no to a catcher in Brooklyn managing 14 home runs. It’s a terrible park for power and it’s very hard to hit them there. Now that he’s in Binghamton, we have to start seeing him hitting enough home runs to be North of 20 on a yearly basis. I’d also like to see more doubles. Alvarez is a 30-40 Home Run Catcher and Parada strikes me as more of a 20-30 guy.
Neither Alvarez nor Parada will blow you away with speed but everytime someone suggests shifting Parada into the outfield I chortle. Parada is the slower of the too and would not have a defensive home outside of catcher, first base and DH.
Again, as hitting catchers go, Parada looks like a fine defender. He’s solid behind the plate and can hold onto his position. Still, when contrasted to Alvarez he’s ultimately the weaker of the two defensively.
First and foremost, do not get doom and gloom on Parada. He had a solid year and remains a valuable top prospect. Secondly, expect him to stay in AA to begin the year and for the Mets to be in no rush to promote him unless Alvarez is hurt. Lastly, it remains hard for me to picture a Mets team with both Alvarez and Parada on the roster given the Mets list of needs. It remains probable that Parada winds up trades.
The comp I have for Kevin Parada is Wilson Ramos. Now people may get irritated by Ramos not exactly being a star player but Ramos had a frankly splendid and productive career. Parada’s offense probably rates higher overall than Ramos and could see Parada headed for a few more all star games than Ramos did (2) if he gets the playing time at catcher.