- Sept 24, 2023: Alvarez departed the game in the sixth inning after taking three foul tips off the tip of his catcher's mitt, which didn't provide enough protection to prevent his middle finger from becoming bruised. The latter two came off the bat of Brandon Marsh, who struck Alvarez with a foul tip sharp enough for manager Buck Showalter and a trainer to come out and check on him. Alvarez remained in the game, only to have Marsh foul the very next pitch off a similar spot. At that point, Alvarez departed.
X-rays were negative, and Alvarez is hopeful he can return to the lineup within a day or two.
"That's just part of the game," he said through an interpreter. "Every single time we go out on that field, we run the risk of something happening."
|DOB:||11/19/2001||Agent:||Bad Bunny's Rimas|
|Birth City:||Guatire, Venezuela|
|Draft:||2018 - Mets - Free agent - Out of Venezuela|
|2018||-||did not play|
Alvarez was the top catching prospect on the 2018 International Free Agent list. The Mets signed him in July 2018, via scouts Andres Nunez and Ismael Perez, when Francisco was 16, for $2.7 million. Defensively, he has impressive arm strength and handles a staff well despite his youth, with the tools to be an above-average defender with continued refinement.
"That’s what shocked me when I found out he was 17,” one Appy League manager said in 2019. "You don’t see kids that young who can catch that well usually. Tremendous arm strength, and (he) shut down our running game.” (Spring, 2020)
As a child in Venezuela, Francisco Alvarez used to tag along with his father and help him carry bags of concrete at his job as a construction worker. He has grown into a strong, physically mature player for his age. And his family still owns a construction business in Venezuela.
Alvarez has such huge hands, wide forearms and intense grip strength that teammates nicknamed him "The Thing" from the Fantastic Four comic books.
July 2018: The Mets gave Alvarez the third-highest bonus among international prospects, signing him for $2.7 million, via scouts Andres Nunez and Ismael Perez. Then in 2019, they sent him to the U.S. for his pro debut.
The 17-year-old catcher responded to the challenge by hitting .462 in seven Gulf Coast League games to earn a promotion to the Appalachian League, where he slashed .282/.377/.443 with five homers in 35 games despite being more than three years younger than the circuit’s average age.
Francisco desires to be great and has put in the work to learn English and condition his body. Look for him to make a splash in full-season ball in 2020 and get on the big league radar in 2023.
In 2021, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Alvarez as the 2nd-best prospect in the Mets organization. He moved up to #1 in the winter before 2021 spring training and he stayed at #1 in 2022 and 2023.
Alvarez has a strong work ethic and is a real grinder.
In 2020, Francisco didn’t get a chance to build on his career because of the pandemic and canceled minor league season. Stranded in spring training in March when Venezuela shut its borders, he headed from Port St. Lucie, Fla., to the Mets’ alternate training site in Brooklyn in July. He wowed teammates and staff as the most impressive hitter in camp.
March 12, 2021: No. 1: Francisco Alvarez
While the Mets invited the 19-year-old to big league camp to give him experience in the clubhouse and against high-level pitching, they didn’t use him behind the plate in Grapefruit League games. Instead, Francisco took a few at-bats at designated hitter. Generally speaking, the scouting community doesn’t doubt Alvarez’s ability to hit. It’s his ability to stick behind the plate that could make the difference between an average player and a superstar.
March 2021: Baseball brought Alvarez to the United States, but he was stuck last season in America when Major League Baseball shut down all minor league facilities and spring training sites last March at the outset of the pandemic. Even worse, he couldn’t go back home to Venezuela.
All prospects from Venezuela were stuck in the U.S. in the spring through the summer after Venezuela closed its borders. He essentially braved the pandemic without any family support. Moreover, he was holed up in a hotel near the Mets’ spring training facility in Port St. Lucie, Fla., until baseball opened alternate training sites in the summer. The Mets’ was in Brooklyn.
“Well, I trained with what I could,” Alvarez said. “We were stopped. We were in a hotel. The team had us in a hotel. We looked for ways to work, to long toss and stretch and stay loose. I learned a lot about analytics. “I watched videos of me and videos of good games to learn what they do in the big leagues.”
Alvarez has never had a problem making the best of the tools at his disposal. He developed his powerful forearms and his “Troll” nickname lifting concrete bags at his father’s construction company in Venezuela.
He didn’t need makeshift workout equipment during the lockdown to remain in shape. He focused instead on improving the mental part of the game.
He spent many hours in Zoom meetings with Mets instructors and coaches. He learned to lean on his trusty laptop, watching countless videos of veteran catchers he admired.
He studied video of two-time all-star J.T. Realmuto of the Phillies, six-time all-star Salvador Perez of the Royals and Christian Vazquez of the Red Sox.
“The one I’d see the most was Realmuto, because he’s one of the best catchers in terms of framing and how to call pitches,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez spent most of his free time watching videos on his laptop to learn how the best catchers and hitters approach their game. (Jose de Jesus Ortiz - Baseball America - March, 2021)
July 11, 2021: Alvarez participated in the All-Star Futures Game. He polished off the National League Futures' eight runs with a sixth-inning solo shot on an 0-2 line drive into the left-field seats.
Francisco has earned a reputation as an extremely hard worker and has spent plenty of time already trying to correct his flaws.
2021 Season: Alvarez was named the Mets Minor League Position Player of The Year.
Álvarez began the season with the St. Lucie Mets (A) and batted .417 (20–48) with 12 runs scored, five doubles, two home runs, 12 RBI, 15 walks and a 1.213 OPS in 15 games before being promoted to High-A Brooklyn, where he spent the remainder of the season.
With the Cyclones, the 19-year-old catcher had a record-breaking season establishing a new-franchise high mark with 22 home runs, which also ranked tied for fourth in the High-A East division. Álvarez also ranked third in slugging (.538), fifth in OPS (.889) and 10th in on-base percentage among all High-A East players. The Venezuela native led all Mets minor leaguers in RBI (70), extra-base hits (43), and slugging (.538) and tied for the organization lead with 24 home runs.
Álvarez was selected to participate in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Coors Field this season, where he socked a pinch-hit home run. Ranked the top prospect in the Mets organization and the №10 overall prospect in the majors by MLB Pipeline, Álvarez also had nine of the 22 hardest hit balls — all over 108.7 MPH — during the 2021 season among Brooklyn Cyclones players. Defensively, Álvarez threw out 26.9 percent (14 of 52) of would-be base-stealers from July 1 through the end of the season.
Alvarez's quick rise through the minor leagues has people talking. “You mean like the time in BP,” Mets prospect Jake Mangum said, “when I saw him hit five straight opposite-field home runs?” Exactly.
In the batting cage, Álvarez typically sticks to a routine. He’ll turn the volume way up on a Bad Bunny track from his phone, start singing the lyrics to himself and get into what teammates call “his zone.”
Choking up a couple of inches, Álvarez uses his regular bat. And his regular bat is not a regular bat. It’s 34 inches, 32 ounces. Asked to describe Álvarez’s choice of equipment, Mets prospect Brett Baty said, “It’s a log.”
Atypical for minor-leaguers. “It’s the most aggressive swing I’ve ever seen in my life,” said former Mets minor leaguer Antoine Duplantis.
The Mets’ first-round pick in 2019, Baty arrived at his first spring training workout in 2020 just before 6:30 a.m. Outside the Florida complex, it was still dark. On his way down the halls, he saw no more than 10 staffers. No players. Baty changed his clothes at his locker and within a couple of minutes, headed toward the weight room.
Already there and with his shirt soaked in sweat was Álvarez. It was Álvarez’s second spring training. He had already completed his workout.
“Right then, I realized what kind of person he was,” Baty said. “He was not going to let anyone outwork him. He wants to be an All-Star. Because of his work ethic, he’s going to be an All-Star.”
It was March 26, 2021, and over in Port St. Lucie Álvarez was one of the scheduled batters for a live session against Jacob deGrom. The appointment viewing received a positive review for the shock value.
On one of deGrom’s signature high-octane fastballs on the outside corner Álvarez connected for a towering, opposite-field home run.
“Wow,” Baty said to himself that day. “This guy is different.”
Joseph, briefly Álvarez’s hitting coach that 2021 season, later said, “He’s not scared of anybody.” Álvarez is also the guy who Raad, the Cyclones broadcaster, said has an insatiable hunger to learn English and master it. To that end, Duplantis, an infielder, said the Venezuelan would prefer to conduct game-planning meetings with pitchers in English, despite Spanish being his native language. On the field, Álvarez is constantly smiling and chatting with anyone, even opponents.
Yes, it’s his bat, the way he swings, the way he makes contact that commands attention, but many note the total package when suggesting why Álvarez will be a star in New York.
“There’s not anyone that wants to put a team on his back more and actually has the talent and the ability to do it,” Joseph said. “The combination of personality and skill, it just makes you say, ‘Wow.’” (Sammon-TheAthletic.com-July 11, 2022)
Sept 30, 2022: Francisco thought his 2022 season was over following Triple-A Syracuse's season finale. The top prospect in baseball posted on Instagram that same night that he was already counting down the days until he returned to the field. Turns out, that countdown was far shorter than he anticipated.
While making the drive from Syracuse to Miami, Álvarez received a call from Mets director of player development Kevin Howard instructing him to take a detour to Atlanta to potentially be a member of the Mets’ taxi squad. Not long after that, manager Buck Showalter called with even better news: Álvarez was being promoted to the Majors.
Álvarez, who was making the trek with his parents and a friend, immediately pulled the car over to take it all in before rushing to join the Mets ahead of this weekend’s pivotal series against the Braves in Atlanta.
"I was excited," Álvarez said via team interpreter Alan Suriel. "We stopped the car, I gave a hug to my mom and dad, they were there. We also had a friend there; they started crying. It was emotional, but we were definitely excited."
The Mets wasted no time throwing Álvarez into the mix in the series opener at Truist Park—and the big moments wasted no time finding the rookie. His first career plate appearance came with two on and nobody out in the second inning of a scoreless game. His final at-bat in the Mets’ 5-2 loss came with the bases loaded and one out with the Mets trailing by three in the ninth inning. Unfortunately for Álvarez, he rolled into a double play in that first opportunity and struck out swinging as the potential go-ahead run to end his night.
“I was excited because I was able to make my debut,” Álvarez said, “but also disappointed that we weren't able to win that game.”
Though Álvarez is still searching for his first big league hit, he flashed some encouraging signs in his other two trips to the plate. In the fifth, he fell behind 0-2 against Braves starter Max Fried, but managed to work the count full before grounding out on the seventh pitch of the at-bat.
Then, in the seventh, Álvarez turned around a 97.3 mph sinker from Raisel Iglesias to send a rope into straightaway center field. The ball left Álvarez's bat at 100.3 mph and traveled a projected 376 feet, but Braves center fielder Michael Harris II tracked it down in the deepest part of the park. "He came close. He was right on some balls,” Showalter said. “He'll learn from it. He's an impressive young man and I'm glad he's on our side.”
The results may not have been there for Álvarez in his first taste of the big leagues, but that didn’t stop him from soaking in the moment. Along with Álvarez having his parents and three of his friends in attendance, he received some advice from Francisco Lindor shortly before first pitch.
“Before the game, Lindor just pulled me aside,” Álvarez said. “And he just told me, 'Hey, remember this moment, just remember and appreciate this moment. This is what you've been working for, and nobody can ever say you're not a big leaguer. You've played a big league game and it's forever going to be there.'" While Álvarez certainly figures to have plenty more big league games in his future, the question is how many more does he have this season? Though the Mets have only five games remaining in the regular season, general manager Billy Eppler left open the possibility that Álvarez could crack the postseason roster.
"Anybody that plays is making a case for themselves," Eppler said when asked if this next week is essentially an audition for Álvarez.
It’s not much time. Does Álvarez believe he can show the Mets enough in such a limited sample to earn some playoff reps? (P Casella - MLB.com - Oct 1, 2022)
2022 Season: There are all sorts of ways we could break down Álvarez’s season. His organization-best 27 homers or his .511 slugging percentage as a catcher. But this sticks out most—Álvarez’s age when he debuted for the Mets on Sept. 30. With his Nov. 19, 2001 birthday, the Venezuelan backstop was the youngest player to appear in a Major League game this season, and his first start came in a massive series against the division rival Braves no less. Álvarez’s plus-plus power should make him an Opening Day candidate for the Mets next spring. (Jim Callis, Sam Dykstra, Jonathan Mayo - Oct. 13, 2022)
2023 MLB's No 1 Prospect at Catcher - Francisco Álvarez, Mets
There likely isn’t another prospect in baseball with more power than Álvarez, who hit 24 homers as a teenager in A ball in 2021, then 27 more at age 20 at the upper Minor League levels last year before making his MLB debut for the Mets on Sept. 30. The Venezuelan backstop enters 2023 still only 21 years old with a Major League-ready bat, and if he continues to refine his work behind the plate, he has the potential to be a multi-time All-Star. (MLB Pipeline - Jan 25, 2023)
Fellow rookies Francisco Álvarez and Mark Vientos each homered in a victory over the Rays on May 17, 2023. Baty drove in a run in a much tidier series-clincher the next day. A day later, Álvarez and Baty supplied homers in regulation, then Álvarez and Vientos delivered 10th-inning RBI singles as the Mets snatched a game away from Cleveland. The trio infused life into the club; the ballpark once more resembled the rollicking carnival from the summer of 2022. Francisco Lindor dubbed the group “the Baby Mets.” All three rookies possess talent, the sort of talent the Mets craved during the doldrums of May, the sort of talent a team must be able to actualize. (McCullough - May 22, 2023- The Athletic)
- Sept. 6, 2023: The young slugger even has made Major League Baseball history this season and is just the second full-time catcher in big league history to launch 20 home runs or more and drive in 50 or more RBIs at 21 years old or younger, according to ESPN Stats and Information.
"Francisco Álvarez is the 2nd primary catcher in MLB history with 20 HR and 50 RBI in a season at age 21 or younger. The other? Johnny Bench in 1969." (PATRICK MCAVOY)
Alvarez has a compact stroke, but it is explosive from the right side of the plate, driving the ball through the middle or to right field with a 55 grade hit tool—because his strong strike-zone control will make him an overall plus hitter. He has the barrel control, bat path and plate discipline to also hit for a solid batting average. He has opposite field power that grades 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale.
Few prospects can match Alvarez's raw power. Built like a fire hydrant at a listed 5-foot-10, 233 pounds, he unleashes a compact, powerful swing that inflicts damage and earns double-plus power grades. Alvarez's average exit velocity in the minors in 2022 was 90 mph and his 90th percentile EV checked in at nearly 108 mph, an elite reading. Alvarez has good feel for the strike zone, but like many young hitters will expand his zone and chase. He should be an average hitter in MLB but can improve that grade slightly with better swing decisions and more zone contact. (Matt Eddy - Baseball America Prospect Handbook - Spring, 2023)
He tends to put a lot of pressure on himself and over-swing and try too hard sometimes.
Even if he didn’t play a premium position at catcher, Álvarez would be one of the most exciting offensive prospects in baseball. His swing is whip-like from the right side and helps him barrel balls easily to all fields. He has tremendous raw power that is already been of use in games. His 24 total homers in 2021 were second-most among Minor League teenagers, and he would have hit for more if he didn’t play at pitcher-friendly Coney Island. The Mets may be most excited that Álvarez already knows the strike zone so well. (Spring 2022)
Francisco has incredible awareness and shows no fear. He has plus offensive upside, both in terms of hitting for average and power. Alvarez makes adjustments within at-bats and has the sort of natural timing and ability to pick up spin to hit breaking pitches. His power is the product of good weight transfer and a short, fast bat path to crush baseballs, especially to right-center field. (Matt Eddy - Baseball America Prospect Handbook - Spring, 2022)
Francisco had no trouble making consistent hard contact as one of the younger players in High-A East in 2021, with 22 home runs in just 84 games at 19 years old, though his power has come with a high rate of swing and miss.
“He just has a look that’s different than a lot of players. It’s a confidence,” Mets field coordinator Kevin Boles said in July 2021. “His recognition of the strike zone has improved since I’ve seen him in the last year, and it’s only going to get better. He’s definitely got strength, upper-half strength, and balance to his lower half. There’s times he gets excited at the plate, and I would too if I had that type of ability.
“Again, he’s just a special talent because of the strength, the bat speed, the pitch recognition and strike-zone management for such an early age.” (Josh Norris - Baseball America - Aug., 2021)
With Francisco's exceptional physical strength and explosive swing, he appears poised to do damage each time he steps to the plate. He has massive raw power and knows how to get to it during games, making hard, fly-ball contact using a leveraged right-handed swing. Alvarez also finds the barrel consistently and is comfortable hitting to all fields, thanks to an approach that belies his age and experience.
Francisco developed exceptionally strong hands and forearms from working for his father’s construction company as a youth. He has incredible raw strength, double-plus raw power and he drives the ball to the opposite field exceptionally well.
He is a confident two-strike hitter who can spoil pitches and put off-speed and breaking pitches in play with authority. He has the type of bat-to-ball skill, reflexes and flyball profile to deliver first-division offensive production at catcher. (Matt Eddy - Baseball America Prospect Handbook - Spring, 2021)
One of the more exciting young hitters in the Minors, Alvarez already demonstrates a knack for finding the barrel from the right side of the plate and has the requisite strength, bat speed and swing path to develop into a plus hitter. His knowledge of the strike zone transcends his age and experience, and he already shows feel for letting the ball travel deep and hitting to all fields. That the Venezuela native's swing is geared towards hitting line drives and fly balls should lead to at least average game power. In his pro debut, he offered a taste of that power potential by slugging seven homers. (Spring 2020)
Alvarez has extremely strong hands and forearms, with an advanced swing, solid barrel control and impressive usage of the opposite field with impact. His bat-to-ball skills are incredible.
He handles velocity and stays on breaking balls, while showing elite bat-to-ball ability and power straightaway and to the opposite field. Alvarez has special potential with the bat and could be a plus overall hitter with power.
Francisco has a long track record of being one of the top hitters everywhere he has played, including against older competition.
Alvarez has a short, explosive stroke that produces above-average raw power that has translated in games. He has an advanced hitting approach for his age and drives the ball well to the middle of the field and the opposite way.
Francisco has extremely strong hands and forearms, with an advanced swing, solid barrel control and impressive usage of the opposite field with impact.
2019 Season: Francisco Alvarez, C (No. 5)
Alvarez’s $2.7 million bonus in July 2018 was one of the top totals handed out during the 2018-19 international period, and it wasn’t long thereafter that he began to receive rave reviews from those inside the organization.
The Mets challenged Alvarez in 2019 in his pro debut, assigning him straight to the Rookie Gulf Coast League before a quick promotion to the Appalachian League, and the then-17-year-old backstop responded by slashing .312/.407/.510 with seven homers in 42 games between the two stops.
The Venezuela native is already perhaps the best pure hitter in New York’s system, with defensive chops behind the plate that could make him an impactful two-way catcher.
2020 Season: Youngest prospect: Francisco Alvarez, C (No. 2/MLB No. 58)
Alvarez entered the 2020 season with as much hype as any Mets prospect after he batted .312/.407/.510 with seven homers across two levels, including the Rookie Appalachian League, in his pro debut at age 17. Coming just a year after the Venezuelan catcher had signed with the club for $2.7 million, Alvarez’s breakout performance also offered the Mets a glimpse of his bright future. Unsurprisingly, the organization jumped at the chance to add him to the alternate site squad when the opportunity arose in August.
“We were thrilled to get him in there,” Banner acknowledged. “A catcher his age getting a chance to work with some older pitchers and pick their brains on things like how to call a game and prepare ... I think it was a very valuable time for him.” (M Rosenbaum - MLB.com - Oct 14, 2020)
2021 Top Prospect - Francisco Alvarez, C
Signed by the Mets in July 2018, Alvarez established himself as one of the sport’s premier catching prospects during his age-17 pro debut, posting a .312/.407/.510 batting line while advancing to the Rookie Appalachian League. The teenager projects as a plus hitter with plus power and has the defensive tools needed to stick at the premium position. (Spring 2021)
In 2020, Francisco really impressed Mets Assistant GM Allard Baird at the Mets' alternate site in Brooklyn.
“He is going to be around some older guys, which is always beneficial for the player if he is ready for that. And I think in his case he is,” Mets assistant general manager Allard Baird said. “For a catcher, especially, playing with older guys, when you have got an older pitcher on the mound who has been around a little bit, you really are forced to work with him and get the most out of him.
“For a young kid, he’s always displayed a good command of the strike zone,” Baird said. “He’s got a very good approach in terms of it’s, ‘Yes, yes, yes, no, take.’
"He goes in there to hit. He’s not going in there to walk. He’s going in there with a very good, aggressive approach, but has the ability to make early recognition and if he doesn’t get his pitch will accept the walk.”
Behind the plate, Baird is pleased with Alvarez’s arm strength and work ethic, along with a drive to succeed.
“He’s started to mature,” Baird said. “He was hard on himself last year. If he dropped the ball behind the plate, or didn’t get a big hit with runners in scoring position, he really beat himself up. I think that natural growth has been seen just in the last year.” (Mike Puma - BA - Dec., 2020)
Francisco should spend the bulk of 2022 at Double-A as a 20-year-old, with an MLB debut possible in 2023 after some Triple-A seasoning. It’s rare for catchers as young as Alvarez to play regularly in the majors, but few young catchers have his precociousness. He has a chance to be a middle-of-the-order hitter and team leader behind the plate. (Spring, 2022)
2021 Season: Francisco surpassed expectations for his first full minor league season. He doesn't get cheated at the plate. He is real aggressive.
“He had a great year with the bat," Mets farm director Jeremy Barnes said. "We weren’t really sure what it was going to be like at a first-year affiliate . . ."
"His bat was very impressive for us this year and he showed he had a good command of the strike zone for a 19-year-old kid and showed a ton of power. We knew he could hit, but I think what he did this year was pretty special.”
2022 Mets Top International Prospect: Francisco Álvarez, C, Venezuela (No. 1, MLB No. 10)
Álvarez has moved quickly through the Mets system ever since he signed on July 2, 2018. The backstop, who only turned 20 last November in 2021, was the only teenager with more than 250 plate appearances at High-A last summer, and he earned every one of them with a .538 slugging percentage, .889 OPS and 22 homers in 84 games in Brooklyn.
The Venezuela native has the potential to be an offensive force and should be capable enough defensively (especially with his arm) to carry value there too. If not for Adley Rutschman and Gabriel Moreno, Álvarez would be the top catching prospect in baseball. (Callis, Boor, Dykstra - MLB.com - Jan 14, 2022)
Jan 31, 2023: Barrels are balls hit with both ideal exit velocity and ideal launch angle, the type of contact most likely to result in an extra-base hit or home run. Álvarez's quality of contact produced an expected slugging percentage of .654 for his first bit of big league action.
And the way Álvarez attacks the ball, he could drive a lot more barrels in the future and produce a lot of slugging from the catcher position.
He was highly aggressive when he got into the Mets' lineup, swinging at over half the pitches he saw and swinging at the first pitch in 10 of his 14 plate appearances. He'll probably need to chase a little less as Major League pitchers see him more, but when you look at Álvarez's Ruthian hacks, it's no wonder he wants to unleash that powerful swing.
Álvarez doesn't get cheated at the plate, and he can drive the ball a long way. Three of the eight balls Álvarez hit in his September 2022 callup, were barreled: a 107.8 mph, 356-foot double off the wall at Citi Field; a 100.2 mph, 376-foot flyout to dead center in Atlanta, just the wrong part of the ballpark; and his first career home run, a 108.9 mph, 439-foot blast to left-center in New York on Oct. 4. (D Adler - MLB.com - Jan 31, 2023)
Francisco receives well and has an average arm he used to throw out 29% of 108 minor league base-stealers. He emphasized learning English and conducted meetings in his second language in 2022, underscoring his leadership initiative.
Alvarez has a large frame and must remain flexible and strong in his ankles to weather a long season. Game-calling and understanding situations is the final hurdle in his development. With time, he has the potential to develop into a near-average, 45 grade defensive catcher, with a 50 grade arm. (M. Eddy - BAPH - Spring, 2023)
“We’re continuing to hammer out the receiving,” Mets farm director Kevin Howard said. “He’s way far ahead of where he was (two years ago). Those have been his biggest jumps, how good he has gotten in receiving.
"But we’re going to continue to help him improve that. The transfers between the catching and throwing are a big thing that he is trying to work on.”
Ultimately, Alvarez will have to mesh with a veteran rotation that includes six Cy Young Awards between Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer.
“If you talk to (Alvarez), that is what he cares about: His teammates wanting to throw to him,” Howard said. “Saying, ‘I want Francisco back there when I am pitching.’ I think that is his No. 1 focus.” (Mike Puma - Baseball America - March, 2023)
Alvarez has a short, stocky build at 5-feet-11 and 220 pounds. So he has no problem giving the pitcher a good, low target to hit. And he has massive hands and the forearms of a big league catcher.
All that said, Álvarez’s profile does get a boost from his ability to play behind the plate. New York officials acknowledge he has some room to grow with his framing, and the decision to send him out of St. Lucie was done partially to get him away from the ABS system. His plus arm is an asset, though he needs to improve his throwing. Regardless, Álvarez’s trajectory toward becoming an All-Star catcher seems to get more assured by the month. (Spring 2022)
Alvarez is a motivated defensive catcher who should get to average overall. One reason the Mets promoted him out of Low-A St. Lucie after 15 games in 2021 was that they wanted him to hone his framing with a human umpire, rather than the automated balls and strikes at Low-A Southeast. He receives the ball well but needs to fine-tune his presentation to buy strikes for his pitchers. He has a 50 grade for his fielding.
His raw arm strength is plus but plays down to just-above-average 55 grade because of inefficient throwing mechanics. He threw out 23% of base-stealers in 2021. Alvarez dramatically improved his rate of passed balls but still has a tendency to use his hands more than his body when blocking pitches in the dirt. The Mets expect him to improve his defensive consistency because of his drive and passion to improve. (Matt Eddy - Baseball America Prospect Handbook - Spring, 2022)
Alvarez got plenty of chances in 2021 big league spring training to glean some wisdom from the Mets’ stable of big league backstops.
“I learned a lot, especially from James McCann,” Alvarez said. “I spent a lot of time with him and the other catchers just talking about the signs and how to call a game. That’s one of the more important things that I learned. There were so many major league veteran players in spring training, and one day I’m going to be there, too, so I learned so much from them.”
Specifically, Alvarez talked about what goes on in daily meetings between pitchers and catchers. There, the players hash out that day’s game plans, go over signs and the scouting reports for each hitter. He also picked up info on other details, like how to switch signs while runners are on second.
Alvarez also needs to polish his throwing. He had thrown out 16% of 49 base-stealers as of late July. His arm is strong enough, but sometimes his mechanics cost him both time and accuracy.
“He’s definitely got the arm strength, but being able to be consistent with his release, his throwing and just being more accurate,” Mets catching coordinator Bob Natal said. “His blocking ability—he’s moving much, much better . . . We’re still working on some of his setups to better improve his ability to move laterally." (Josh Norris - Baseball America - Aug., 2021)
On top of the impressive physical tools, Alvarez earns high marks for his makeup and leadership skills and his desire to improve in all facets of the game. Those qualities give the Mets confidence that Alvarez will stick behind the plate long term, with the potential to develop into an above-average regular who hits in the middle of a lineup.
Alvarez still has gains to make defensively with his blocking and catch-and-throw skills, but the arm strength is plus, and he’s worked hard to improve his athleticism and mobility behind the plate. (Spring 2021)
Alvarez’s defensive game requires maintenance, but he will stick at the position. He is a confident, poised defensive catcher with solid-average receiving ability and a plus arm. He allowed 15 passed balls in 27 games behind the plate in 2019, calling into question his blocking ability. But some of that is attributable to the one-knee catching technique he is learning. It helps him present pitches to the umpire to gain strikes for his pitcher but costs him lateral mobility on balls in the dirt and momentum on throws to second base.
Alvarez gets a 50 grade for his defense, and a 60 grade on his arm.
Francisco tends to overthrow on stolen base attempts and needs to focus on making clean transfers and accurate throws to the bag. He has the type of outgoing, take-charge attitude to build rapport with pitchers. The next step is building conviction in his pitch calling. Alvarez has a thick build and mature body type even at age 19, but he is flexible enough for the position and determined to be a big league catcher. (Matt Eddy - Baseball America - Spring, 2020)
Alvarez moves well behind the plate despite being physically advanced for his age, and his accurate, plus arm strength bodes well for controlling the running game. An agile defender who earns high marks for his energy level and willingness to learn, Alvarez has obvious gains to make as both a receiver and game-caller, though some of that should come naturally with experience. If it all clicks for him, Alvarez could develop into an above-average big league catcher capable of impacting the game on both sides of the ball. (Spring 2020)
His receiving and lateral agility are improving monthly. and Alvarez handles a pitching staff well, even as a teenager. He has all the ingredients behind the plate to start for a winning team, including a high energy level and the massive hands and forearms of a big league backstop. He receives well and keeps the running game in check with a plus arm for a 60 grade. On his to-do list are fine-tuning his pitch framing.
Alvarez moves well behind the plate despite being physically advanced for his age, and his accurate, plus arm strength bodes well for controlling the running game. An agile defender who earns high marks for his energy level and willingness to learn, Alvarez has obvious gains to make as both a receiver and game-caller, though some of that should come naturally with experience. If it all clicks for him, Alvarez could develop into an above-average big league catcher capable of impacting the game on both sides of the ball. (Spring, 2020)
Francisco is an intense competitor. He has the toughness to be an everyday catcher.
Alvarez is a quick-twitch athlete. He is still developing behind the plate.
“He’s working on getting consistent with his stance and making sure that he can block balls more consistently,” Mets farm director Jeremy Barnes said after the 2021 season. “He shows that he’s got an elite arm, but it’s just refinement at this point, just making sure that he’s working on those soft skills and getting consistent . . . All the tools are there."
The Mets have long been enamored of Alvarez's work ethic, composure and competitive makeup. He has that 'it' factor to become a star on baseball's biggest stage. Alvarez has already reached the summit of his climb in pro ball, and he is poised to hit in the middle of the Mets' order for a long time. It just might require a bit more Triple-A time early in 2023 to shore up his hitting approach and gain more reps behind the plate. (Matt Eddy - BAPH - Spring, 2023)
- Francisco moves slowly having 30 grade, well-below-average speed.
Oct. 18, 2022: Alvarez underwent surgery on his right ankle after imaging showed “cartilage damage resulting from the preexisting loose body.”
He was expected to be ready for the start of spring training in February 2023.
- June 19, 2023: Tests came back negative on Francisco Alvarez's right hand after the rookie catcher was struck by a foul ball in the eighth inning of the Mets' 11-1 win over the Astros. Although the team intends to reevaluate Alvarez, he believes he has avoided the sort of injury that could cost him time.
- Sept 10, 2023: Alvarez was hit by a pitch -- one of three Mets to get hit by pitches in the game -- in the fifth inning of a 2-0 win against the Twins. X-rays taken on Alvarez's right hand and wrist that afternoon came back clean. A day later, Alvarez was out of the starting lineup.