The 2023 season has not gone to plan for the Mets, as they are sitting two games under .500 at 18-20 and have lost five consecutive series for the first time since 2012.
If there has been one positive takeaway, that is the emergence of their 21-year-old former top prospect.
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Fransico Álvarez has arrived for the Mets
After making his debut in September 2022 and hitting a measly .167 in 14 appearances, Álvarez started the 2023 season in Triple-A. However, his stay in the minor league would be short, as he returned to the major league roster following the injury to Omar Narvaez.
Since the start of May, Álvarez has shown why he was viewed as a top prospect. The Venezuelan native has hit .320 with a 1.073 OPS, along with two home runs and four RBIs.
Those home runs came in the same game against the Reds on Tuesday. The most impressive part of those two home runs was that he did not get all of the ball. Álvarez’s pure power that he displayed in the minor leagues has begun to show at the major league level.
Álvarez has also made a jump in his plate discipline. In April, when he hit .194 with a .494 OPS. The 21-year-old struck out 14 times while just walking once in 36 plate appearances which is a 36.1% strikeout rate.
In May, Álvarez has struck out just five times in 25 plate appearances which is a much more respectable 20% rate and a significant dropoff from April’s number. He has also begun to walk more with three walks which is nearly 10% more than last month.
In addition to his prowess in the batters’ box, Álvarez has improved behind the plate.
According to Statcast, Álvarez has a strike rate of 51.9% (which helps tell how often a catcher gets a pitch called for a strike) and is good enough for sixth in the major leagues.
Álvarez also has four defensive runs saved above average, according to Baseball Reference, the fourth most in the major league.
This breakout by Álvarez should prove to the blue and orange faithful that the Mets have a franchise catcher for the first time since Mike Piazza departed in 2005.