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New York Mets top prospect Francisco Álvarez flashes stardom, homers in Double-A debut

Matt Johnson
Francisco Alvarez, New York Mets
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

As the New York Mets begin the 2022 MLB season with their sights set on competing for a spot in the MLB playoffs, top prospect Francisco Álvarez is already showing signs of becoming a star.

Álvarez, who entered 2022 ranked as the Mets’ No. 1 prospect by MLB Pipeline, broke out in 2021 with one of the best seasons by a catcher in the minors. It earned him a spot in the All-Star Futures Game, where he hit a home run on a national stage.

Following a stint with the Mets in spring training, the 20-year-old catcher was assigned to Double-A Binghamton. In his 2022 minor-league debut and his first game for the Rumble Ponies, Álvarez once again left his mark instantly.

As the broadcasters noted, that double leaves the yard in multiple MLB stadiums and a majority of minor-league ballparks. Instead, he had to settle for a home run after drilling the baseball to the batter’s eye in the deepest part of the yard.

The young catcher would make up for it a few minutes later. Returning to the plate in the 4th inning, Álvarez drilled a no-doubt blast to deep left-center field for his first Double-A home run.

While it’s his first homer of the MiLB season, Álvarez drilled his first home run in 2022 against the Miami Marlins in spring training, a shot that bounced off the scoreboard.

Related: MLB top prospects 2022

Francisco Álvarez scouting report and future with New York Mets

MLB: New York Mets at Washington Nationals
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The excitement New York Mets fans have for the season should also be reflected in the anticipation for Álvarez. While he won’t be joining the team’s lineup immediately, we could be looking at a future All-Star catcher in New York.

  • Francisco Alvarez stats (2021): 24 home runs, 18 doubles, 8 steals, .272/.388/.554, .941 OPS

At 5-foot-10 and 233 lbs., Álvarez packs a lot of power in his frame. At the Futures Game, scouts and baseball writers marveled at the raw power he displayed in batting practice. He also isn’t an all-or-nothing batter.

Álvarez only struck out in 10.4% of his plate appearances in Low-A to open the 2021 season. Even when he advanced a level, starting as a 19-tear-old against High-A competition, Álvarez posted a .351 OBP with a respectable 82/40 K/BB ratio across 279 at-bats.

MLB Pipeline believes Álvarez could develop his approach and swing to become a 60-grade hitter. That’s an All-Star caliber batting average. Pair that with his 70-grade power, you have the makings of a player who could be the best catcher in the National League.

While things can go wrong, MLB analyst Keith Law captured the appeal of Âlvarez.

“He has 20-plus homer power already, with 30-plus in his near-term outlook, and he’s going to hit for higher averages once he’s no longer the youngest player at his level. The only knock on Alvarez’s upside is that he has a more mature body than some of the other catching prospects of his age around the game, so he may not have much more power coming to him, but the response is that he has plus game power already, and if this is all there ever is, so what? He could be as mobile as a statue and still be an above-average regular for a catcher with — dare I say it — a Mike Piazza-like upside if his bat keeps improving.”

The Athletic’s Keith Law on New York Mets prospect Francisco Álvarez

As of now, it’s unlikely Álvarez steps into the Mets’ lineup in 2022. He still needs to improve behind the plate, with pitch framing an area that he needs to work on this season. It does hold important value for MLB teams, even as the future of the sport might change in three-plus years with an electronic strike zone being tested out in the minors.

When the Mets make trade calls around the league, plenty of teams will ask about Francisco Álvarez. Based on his tools and development, New York’s fans don’t have to worry about losing him and can just count down the days until his MLB debut.