Earlier today, we talked about how the 2023 season is a crucial one for third baseman Brett Baty’s development. The same can be said for catcher Francisco Alvarez. Like his fellow top organizational prospect, the 21-year-old is already laying the foundation for a pivotal year.
Mets Triple-A hitting coach Collin Hetzler joined Metsmerized’s Michael Mayer and Sal Manzo on the latest edition of MMO Weekly. This was a 40-minute episode that touched on a wide range of topics. One of the things that perked me up was Hetzler discussing Alvarez.
The young backstop spent 45 games in Triple-A before getting a late-season call-up to the big leagues. So, Hetzler had more time with him than he did with Baty, who was in Syracuse for just six games before getting promoted.
Hetzler said a lot of unsurprising things about the right-handed hitter. But what I loved hearing the most is that he’s working on his defense (receiving, blocking, and throwing) and is also hitting every day. The hitting coach said the following:
He’s locked in. He doesn’t need any motivation from me. But I’ll just give him some challenging batting practice and some different machine work to try to expose some of the few misses that he has.
Here’s the two-minute clip of Hetzler’s Alvarez-specific thoughts.
When talking about motivation, the 21-year-old got all he needed a few weeks ago. Alvarez has publicly said he’s sure he’ll be on the Mets’ Opening Day roster. But, general manager Billy Eppler has implied the catcher needs to be behind the plate every day to keep developing at that position.
New York wants him to be the long-term solution at catcher. That’s evident and makes sense, but that doesn’t mean Alvarez can’t try to force their hand this spring. Even if he does have an otherworldly spring, he still may find himself in Syracuse (with Baty) to start the season.
Do you know what’s really great about this, though? With both Alvarez and Baty, these dudes are incredibly hungry to stick in the big leagues. And sure, every prospect wants that, but not everybody shows up to camp weeks early to push the envelope and start getting their work in.
They both got a taste of what the majors is like last year. Heck, even Alvarez had an opportunity to be on the field for a postseason game at Citi Field. They can both see what the roster currently looks like and how they’re probably on the outside looking in. Despite that, you love to see them doing whatever possible to make sending them to Triple-A before Opening Day as hard as it can be for the Mets.
Matt Musico can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.