The New York Mets’ spring training has seen a number of exciting prospects, including Ronnie Mauricio, Brett Baty, and Mark Vientos, who have all shown impressive hitting abilities.
However, the club’s number one prospect, Francisco Alvarez, has been developing his glove skills behind the scenes after undergoing ankle surgery during the offseason.
He has yet to play in back-to-back Grapefruit League games, with the Mets bringing him along slowly. They want Alvarez to develop as a receiver, working with two of the best pitch-framers in baseball, Tomas Nido and Omar Narvaez.
Alvarez’s explosive offensive and defensive abilities make him an exciting prospect, according to the Mets’ catching and strategy coach, Glenn Sherlock.
He has a powerful arm that can throw nearly as hard as his bat swings, and in the minors last year, he threw out 15 of 40 would-be base stealers, a success rate of 38 percent.
If he can match that in MLB, where 75.4 percent of stolen-base attempts were successful last season, he would be a valuable asset for the Mets.
Despite his slow start in Grapefruit League play, there are fewer concerns about his hitting ability after hitting 27 home runs in Double-A and Triple-A last season. However, the Mets continue to view him as a catcher, and they want to see how he works with pitchers, particularly the likes of Max Scherzer.
As MLB evaluates whether robo-umps will eventually be used in the majors, which would eliminate the need for pitch-framing, there is some doubt as to how much Alvarez’s softer skills will be needed in the future.
Nevertheless, his desire to be the best and his engaging personality have impressed manager Buck Showalter. Although he will not break camp with the Mets, Alvarez hopes to return to the majors soon and help the team win as much as possible.»Mets are being patient with explosive top prospect Francisco Alvarez«