Hitting home runs at any point of a big-league game is great. But it’s a little bit better when you slug one over the fence at a time your squad desperately needs one. Mets rookie catcher Francisco Alvarez knows plenty about that already.
While he’s racked up just 210 plate appearances so far in 2023, five of his 15 home runs have either tied things up or given the Mets a lead in the sixth inning or later (h/t MLB.com’s Sarah Langs). That’s impressive regardless of the situation. But when we’re talking about a 21-year-old rookie, it’s a little more special. It’s also the most such home runs in MLB right now.
And yes, I know these are “only” regular-season games. Doing stuff like this in October is a totally different beast. However, before you get to the postseason, you have to get it done during the 162-game schedule. That’s what Alvarez has done so far for a Mets team that has desperately needed a jolt for the majority of 2023.
So, with that in mind, let’s revisit those five home runs he’s hit for New York, shall we?
Home Run No. 1: April 23rd vs. San Francisco Giants
Francisco Álvarez breaks through. That's his first home run of the season and the second of his career… on a pitch way, way above the strike zone.
Mets 4, Giants 4, top six. pic.twitter.com/tCH8E0rIBI
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) April 24, 2023
This is one heckuva way to get yourself on the board in the home run department, right? I’m still trying to figure out how he connected with this ball at all, let alone get enough on it to reach the seats.
Home Run No. 4: May 17th vs. Tampa Bay Rays
FRANCISCO ÁLVAREZ HAS TIED THIS GAME WITH A 3-RUN HOMER! pic.twitter.com/WgNLx71Z4W
— SNY (@SNYtv) May 18, 2023
This will go down as one of the Mets’ most exciting wins of the year, regardless of what happens the rest of the way. And Pete Alonso doesn’t have a chance to hit a walk-off homer if Alvy doesn’t come up clutch here.
Home Run No. 7: May 27th vs. Colorado Rockies
WE DO A LITTLE TROLLING.
FRANCISCO ÁLVAREZ TIES THE GAME!!! pic.twitter.com/mubIZStATj
— SNY (@SNYtv) May 28, 2023
Unfortunately, the pitching staff essentially gave the lead right back to the Rockies after Alvarez went deep at Coors Field. He doesn’t have any control over that, though. What he does have control over is his ability to hit tanks, and he’s quite good at that.
Home Run No. 14: July 4th vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
Francisco Alvarez just absolutely bludgeoned a go-ahead, two-run homer. At a projected 467 feet, it's easily the longest home run of Alvarez's career.
Mets 6, D-backs 4, top seven. pic.twitter.com/WAy1Zcno83
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) July 4, 2023
This game could’ve easily gotten away from the Mets after taking the lead and giving it right back (that sounds familiar, doesn’t it?). Thankfully, the man they call El Troll took matters into his own hands with a titanic moonshot.
Home Run No. 15: July 5th vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
This kid is an absolute STUD💪 pic.twitter.com/gb1b8mjAC1
— New York Mets (@Mets) July 6, 2023
Is this not a situation every kid dreams about? Down one run with two outs and two strikes in the ninth inning, only to launch a ball into the seats to help snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
So, yea — Francisco Alvarez has the clutch gene. It’ll get tested again at some point whenever the Mets are back in the playoffs. But for right now, he’s one of the very few New York should want at the plate with the game on the line.