Francisco Álvarez Is Putting In The Work
Last season, Francisco Álvarez said his goal was to make it to the majors in 2022, and while it took nearly a full season, he accomplished that goal. Not only would he make it to the majors at the end of the year, but he would also make the postseason roster becoming the youngest ever New York Mets player to appear in the postseason.
Entering this season, Álvarez has said he wants to make the Opening Day roster. The Mets aren’t so sure all but saying they aren’t going to put him on the Opening Day roster. For the Mets part, it is the right decision.
In some ways, Álvarez is not that far away. Recently, at the Thurman Munson Award Banquet, Mets manager Buck Showalter said, “He has the skills to say when, not if…We think Francisco has the chance to not only be a quality player, but a quality teammate. That’s the constant thing you hear is how much pitchers love to throw to him and how engaged he is.” Still, the Mets don’t’ see him as ready yet.
The biggest thing Álvarez needs is reps behind the plate. He has not caught more than 79 games in a season. With that, he still needs work blocking and receiving. He also has to build stamina to sustain a full season behind the plate without injury, something he has yet to do.
However, that is not stopping him from trying to force the issue. This past offseason, he worked with Yadier Molina and Robinson Chirinos. He also spoke with Jose Molina. Now, he showed up early to Spring Training, and he is working with Omar Narváez.
Omar Narváez works with Francisco Álvarez on his receiving: pic.twitter.com/hNR7IbGsQI
— SNY (@SNYtv) February 7, 2023
Omar Narváez spent most of the defensive session at today's workout alongside Francisco Álvarez, helping him with pitch framing, blocking, and more: https://t.co/vuYhfPbsMk pic.twitter.com/GmPsKa6Vxg
— SNY (@SNYtv) February 7, 2023
In many ways, Narváez is a perfect mentor for Álvarez, and it is another example on how smart signing him was this offseason. In some ways, Narváez was once what Álvarez currently is.
Narváez was once a defensively limited catcher with a promising bat. With the Milwaukee Brewers needing a catcher, and them having Adam Hill thanks to another dumb Brodie Van Wagenen trade (Keon Broxton), they took a chance on Narváez.
Narváez put in the work, and he has become a very good catcher. Per Baseball Savant, he was one of the best pitch framers in baseball. That was not really a consideration when the trade between the Brewers and Seattle Mariners happened. However, it did.
Narváez knows what helps a weak defensive catcher become a very good one. He can provide insight not even the Molina brothers could to Álvarez. Narváez knows what it is like to be held back by his defensive work behind the plate.
For his part, Álvarez is working with him. Really, he’s working with everyone who can help him. This portends for a very good Major League career because Álvarez is showing himself to be a player who will do anything to improve. He is showing he will not stop at anything to be the best and to accomplish unrealistic goals.
Each offseason, we see another reason to believe Álvarez will be a great one. This offseason is no exception. Hopefully, the 2023 season will be the one where we see him become just that in the majors.