Even though the Mets are limping home from a 2-4 road trip to face the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on Tuesday, there are some things to be excited about. The pitching staff is absolutely not one of them. Rookie catcher Francisco Alvarez, though? Yea, he qualifies as one.
The 21-year-old backstop has been one of baseball’s best hitters during the month of May. His on-field progression has been so eye-popping that he’s already produced one of the better season-long performances by a Mets catcher in quite some time. He’s come a long way after a slow start, too.
After April 21, Francisco Álvarez was hitting .130 with just 3 singles.
Since April 23 (23 games)
? .309 AVG
? 14 XBH (6 2B, 8 HR)
? 18 RBI
? 1.057 OPS
Oh, and he's also on a 8-game hitting streak ? pic.twitter.com/1oyPubCh2X
— SNY Mets (@SNY_Mets) May 29, 2023
Sure, he’s had a couple of blunders on the bases, but the pros outweigh the cons. It appears as though he’s the real deal. That’s good because his position has mostly been a revolving door of uninspiring offensive performance for quite a few years.
This sounds similar to David Wright, doesn’t it? When he debuted in 2004, there hadn’t been much stability at third base for the Mets. (Outside of a few dominant years from Howard Johnson, of course.) And then for more than a decade after his debut, Wright was mostly the model of consistency and above-average play at the hot corner.
That’s the kind of thing Alvarez can provide for the Mets behind the plate. It’s been a joy to watch him get better with each at-bat. And when he barrels a ball? My goodness, that’s a beautiful sight. Alvy generates a ton of power in his swing, but has it looked familiar at all? It hadn’t to me until the beauty that is the internet showed me the Alvarez-Wright side-by-side swing comparison I never knew I needed to see.
— Master flip ?? (@Masterflip_) May 28, 2023
There are some obvious differences here. Alvarez has more of an uppercut swing, keeps his barrel in the zone longer, and just generally takes a more vicious hack. But watch how they both load up before wreaking havoc on a pitch. The movement of the hands and the toe tap are damn near identical.
Am I reading too much into this? Probably. If we put Alvarez side-by-side with other right-handed hitters, would there be similarities there, too? Yea, probably. But hell, I miss David Wright playing for the Mets, so I’m going to run with this as another sign that Alvarez is the real deal.