When New York Mets catcher Omar Narvaez went down with a calf injury during the team’s loss on Wednesday to the Milwaukee Brewers, all eyes in Queens turned to one man: Francisco Alvarez, the team’s top prospect and the consensus top catching prospect in MLB.
And sure enough, after testing revealed that Narvaez would be out for several weeks, it didn’t take long for reports to begin surfacing that Alvarez would be called up to Citi Field for the Mets’ home opener on Friday, April 7th against the Miami Marlins.
The Mets plan to call up Francisco Alvarez prior to their home opener tomorrow, a source said.— Tim Healey (@timbhealey) April 6, 2023
Unclear how playing time with Alvarez and Tomas Nido will sort out, but team officials were consistent during camp: If Alvarez is in the majors, they want him to catch regularly. https://t.co/A1xwXNVW4F
The 21-year-old signed out of his native Venezuela back in 2017 for what was at the time the largest international signing bonus in Mets franchise history, and he’s done pretty much nothing but climb prospect rankings (and launch dingers) since. Alvarez got a brief taste of MLB action last season, but Narvaez’s injury should give him his first meaningful run in the big leagues, and it could help swing the balance of power in the National League — not to mention your fantasy league.
Francisco Alvarez fantasy impact
Alvarez has made strides defensively behind the plate, but he remains a bit iffy there. His calling card as a prospect and fantasy asset is simple: power, power and more power. He launched 24 homers in 400 plate appearances across two levels of A-ball as a 19-year-old in 2021, then hit 27 in fewer than 500 PAs across Double-A and Triple-A last year. He cuts an imposing figure at 5’11, 233 pounds, and the ball just sounds different off his bat.
That kind of power will play at any park, at any level. The question has been whether Alvarez can display the sort of hit tool and plate discipline to fully tap into it against Major League pitching, and an increased walk rate so far in Triple-A this year hints that the answer could be yes.
Even a 50th-percentile outcome would be more than good enough for Alvarez to stand out at a thin catcher position though — 25 bombs with a .250 batting average will be good enough to land you in the top five of the position on a yearly basis. It’s still unclear just how much playing time the Mets will give their prized prospect, but it stands to reason that — especially at a position that demands as many reps as possible to improve — New York didn’t call him up to have him sit on the bench. At worst he’ll figure heavily into the DH rotation, making him a priority add in leagues of all sizes.