The danger with calling up Mark Vientos was that Buck Showalter was not going to play him. That is just Showalter’s instincts when it comes to young players. While veterans need not have to produce to keep a roster spot, young players have to go above and beyond to earn playing time.
When Brett Baty was first called up, he was immediately put into a platoon at third base with Eduardo Escobar. What was bizarre about that was Baty was called up to the majors specifically because of Escobar’s struggles. Baty has since played his way out of the platoon.
For two years running, the Mets said when Francisco Álvarez was called up to the majors, he was going to be the primary catcher. However, when Álvarez was called up after the Omar Narváez injury, Showalter first made Álvarez the back-up to Tomás Nido.
Eventually, Nido’s struggles and eye issues forced him to the IL, and now Álvarez is the primary catcher. However, even with Álvarez being the Mets best hitter for over a month now, he still bats ninth.
That brings us back to Vientos.
Vientos was called up because Daniel Vogelbach was not hitting for power, and he was slumping. Tommy Pham was not getting it done either from the DH spot. Mostly, the Mets needed more power in their lineup. Given the power display Vientos was exhibiting in Triple-A coupled with him dramatically cutting down on the strikeouts, the Mets were almost forced to call him up.
When he was first called up, it looked genius. Vientos would homer off of Ryan Thompson to tie the game and spark what would be the Mets best win of the season. Notably, Vientos was just one of four players over the past three seasons to homer off of Thompson’s slider:
Good thing they didn’t call up Mark Vientos sooner.
— Mike Mayer (@mikemayer22) May 18, 2023
Even with the homer, the Mets would not get him back into the lineup. He sat against the right-handed Taj Bradley. However, he would get into the lineup again against the right-handed Cal Quantrill. In that game, Vientos came up with the big base hit off Emmanuel Clase in the 10th to pull the Mets within a run.
For Vientos, that was two games played with two big hits producing an RBI. Despite that, he would not appear in the lineup until two games later. Being fair here, one of the games he missed the first half of a doubleheader. Still, after two big hits, Showalter’s inclination was to sit Vientos for two straight games.
Vientos struggled against Shane Bieber, who was excellent over eight innings. Then again, the Mets lineup only produced two runs on seven hits for the day.
Vientos would start at DH in the first game of the series against the Chicago Cubs with Drew Smyly taking the mound. After going 0-for-2 with two strikeouts, Showalter pinch hit Vogelbach for Vientos when the right-handed Jeremiah Estrada relieved Smyly.
When Showalter pinch hit for Vientos, there were runners on first and second with one out. Vogelbach flied out with Francisco Lindor and Alonso moving up. You’ll note when Starling Marte, the Mets worst hitter this season, came to the plate, Showalter did not use Jeff McNeil to pinch hit for him. Instead, he left Marte in to ground out killing the Mets chances of getting back into that game.
With Marcus Stroman taking the hill, Vientos was again on the bench in favor of Vogelbach. Vogelbach was 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Again, Vogelbach had the type of performance which led to Vientos getting called up.
Taking all into account, here is where we are. Vientos was impactful the first two games but has not been since. He is struggling with sporadic playing time going 2-for-13 at the plate with a homer and two RBI (65 wRC+).
Vientos is not producing enough at the moment. He has also been taken out the rhythm he was in Triple-A with the sporadic playing time he has had. Put the blame where you want it, but the end result is Vientos not playing frequently and not producing the way he did even when he was first called-up.
One thing that has been abundantly clear is the New York Mets lineup isn’t working. Even going back to last season, Buck Showalter never truly maximized his lineup. That should change now, especially since Showalter can’t justify many of his decisions.
That’s not to say Showalter has been completely inflexible. To be fair, he did drop down Starling Marte in the lineup due to his early season struggles. On that point, Marte never should have been batting second. As we have seen, from a Sabermetric/analytical standpoint, your best hitter should bat second.
Instead, Showalter treated it like a second lead-off hitter. That never really worked last season, and it is time to see Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, or Brandon Nimmo bat second. If players like Aaron Judge and Mike Trout bat second, the Mets can put their top hitter there.
Since the start of last season, those are the Mets top three hitters. Alonso has a 141 wRC+. McNeil is behind him with a 136, and Nimmo has a 132. The Mets could easily justify batting anyone one of them second in their lineup.
Before getting to that point, the Mets do have to wrestle with who leads off. Part of the issue there is while Nimmo seems like the obvious candidate, the waters do get muddied a bit when looking at the numbers.
In his career, McNeil has been at his best batting lead-off (131 wRC+), his four games in the clean-up spot (144 wRC+), or towards the bottom of the lineup. He has been his weakest batting second (115 wRC+) and fifth (104 wRC+). While we can and should look towards analytics, we should also take into account where players thrive and meld the two.
On that front, Francisco Lindor has been at his best when batting lead-off (123 wRC+) or fifth in the lineup (183 wRC+) in his career. The caveat there is he’s hit fifth only once, so that should really be disregarded. Really, Lindor has spent his career in the top third of the lineup, and it is clear he’s a much better hitter when leading off.
For his part, Nimmo has a 135 wRC+ as a leadoff hitter. He’s got better numbers in other spots in the lineup, but there’s nothing close to an appreciable sample size to derive anything of it. This is where the Mets conundrum is. They have three players who thrive batting leadoff, but only one of them can fill that spot.
The question is how exactly do you balance that out keeping in mind this is all before you account for players like Francisco Álvarez, Brett Baty, and Mark Vientos.
Going back to Alonso for a moment, he has a 135 wRC+ batting clean-up. However, he has a 149 wRC+ batting second and a 151 wRC+ batting fifth. He’s very good batting third hitting third.
So going through the numbers, here is what we know. Nimmo has the best wRC+ as a lead-off hitter, but Lindor has the biggest drop-off from the lead-off to other spots in the lineup. Alonso can hit basically anywhere. Going deeper, over the past month, Álvarez has been the Mets best hitter with a 162 wRC+. Put another way, he’s arrived.
Basically, there’s a lot going on with the Mets lineup, but one thing we know is Álvarez batting last is something that needs to change immediately. We also know base stealing is easier with the closer base paths, and Lindor is their best base stealer out of their top hitters. Taking everything into account, perhaps the Mets can roll with something like this:
- Lindor, SS
- Alonso, 1B
- McNeil, 2B
- Álvarez, C
- Nimmo, CF
- Vientos, 3B
- Baty, LF
- Marte, RF
- Vogelbach/Escobar/Canha DH
Another interesting look is:
- McNeil, 2B
- Nimmo, CF
- Alonso, 1B
- Lindor, SS
- Álvarez, C
- Baty, LF
- Vientos, 3B
- Vogelbach/Escobar/Canha, DH
- Marte, RF
If that is too radical, the other option the Mets have in play is:
- Nimmo, CF
- Lindor, SS
- McNeil, LF
- Alonso, 1B
- Baty, 3B
- Vientos, DH
- Escobar, 2B
- Marte, RF
The second is the more likely scenario given the manager. However, it is still a major change. The biggest is acknowledging Álvarez is one of the Mets top hitters and needs to be recognized as such.
The other interesting part of the lineup is Marte ninth. This is a page out of Bobby Valentine‘s playbook when he would bat Roger Cedeño ninth in interleague games to give the Mets a leadoff hitter at the bottom of the lineup.
In the end, this is a balancing of what the players are comfortable doing with optimizing the lineup analytically. The Mets seem to be doing better with their top four batters rearranged, and if that is the case, the Mets can roll with that. However, the lower five needs radical reconstruction starting with batting Álvarez fifth.
That last part should be the easy part. Time will tell if Showalter sees it that way.
Francisco Álvarez entered the 2023 season as the catcher of the future. Before Memorial Day, Álvarez has established himself as the catcher of the present.
He’s been great defensively, which has been a very pleasant surprise. His bat is coming around, and over the past month, he’s been the second best hitting catcher in the game.
Keep in mind, he’s just scratching the surface. He’s 21, and he has a potential superstar career ahead of him. When players like these “arrive,” organizations just hand them the keys.
To some degree, this does raise some questions as to how the New York Mets handle their catching situation. At the moment, they’re all over-blown.
We don’t know if Gary Sánchez will ever hit in the majors again. We also haven’t really seen anything to suggest he can catch at the Major League level.
Sánchez is a back-up catcher, DH, and/or power bat off the bench. In reality he’s the later two and more of a complication for Mark Vientos.
Tomás Nido is a defensive back-up. He’s not starting for anyone or pushing the future of your franchise back to Double-A. He’s needed and important but nowhere near indispensable.
The “complication” is really Omar Narváez. However, much of this is overblown.
First and foremost, Narváez was moved to the 60 day IL. He’s not yet begun a rehab assignment. Although, that should be happening within the next few weeks.
Narváez signed the deal with the Mets knowing Álvarez existed. He signed a deal with a player option for 2024.
Essentially, Narváez signed in hoping he could keep Álvarez in the minors. In the event he couldn’t, he has a built-in escape clause. Put another way, he knew the current situation could well happen, and he was prepared.
That does not mean he will be happy or accept it. That’s his prerogative, and no one can blame him for being upset for losing his job due to injury.
That said, Álvarez is flat out better than him at the moment. Álvarez is going to get a lot better too.
However, Álvarez has never caught more than 81 games in a season. He’s currently 39% of the way towards his career high in games caught.
As a result, we should expect a rookie wall. There will be fatigue. There may be a need to ease up on the amount of games he catches per week.
Obviously, the Mets will want to DH him those days. Again, that’s a complication for Vientos. It will be one for Daniel Vogelbach and Sánchez as well.
It’s also an opportunity to get Narváez into more games. It can keep him happy, and it can allow the Mets to get the most from him and Álvarez.
Of course, for that to be the situation, Narváez has to return from his IL stint. He needs to be productive and force the issue. Put another way, the Mets can kick the can down the road for now.
While that happens, Billy Eppler needs to be active. It’s obvious he needs to have a plan for what to do with the DHs because Álvarez is here to stay and needs a place to play.
The New York Mets are making the right move calling up Gary Sánchez. We know Sánchez has the ability to have a game changing type of bat, and he has the type of power the Mets are trying to add to the roster.
Sánchez had an opt out date fast approaching. It could be a mix of small sample sizes, good luck, and some adjustments, but Sánchez has been raking in Triple-A Syracuse. The Mets should get a look at Sánchez at the Major League level before letting another team benefit from the risk and work the Mets took on signing Sánchez to a minor league deal.
While a smart decision, it comes with serious risk given who is in charge of the Mets.
Buck Showalter has already given Mets fans reason to be leery on his handling with young players. Mark Vientos hit a big home run, and he sat the next day in favor of Tommy Pham and Daniel Vogelbach, two players whose failures necessitated Vientos’ promotion to the majors.
Based on Showalter’s comments, it seems he may be leaning towards a third base platoon between Vientos and Brett Baty. Baty just escaped one with Eduardo Escobar, but because Showalter is reticent to use his young players over his veterans, it appears two players who should be together in the starting lineup are now going to battle for one spot.
That brings us back to Francisco Álvarez.
When Omar Narváez went down with injury, Álvarez was called up to the majors. Prior to this moment, the Mets always said once Álvarez is called up, he is going to be the primary catcher. Instead, Showalter declared Tomás Nido would start over Álvarez.
It literally took Nido developing an eye issue causing his ineffectiveness for Álvarez to get the starting job he should have had. That was the organizational plan, but on his own volition, Showalter abandoned it.
Looking at Álvarez now, he is an excellent defensive catcher. He just hit a huge homer. Over the past 21 games, he has hit four homers, an .807 OPS, and a 128 wRC+. That would make him one of the Mets best hitters over this stretch, so naturally, he can’t bat anything other than ninth in this lineup.
Now, Álvarez sitting in the series finale against the Tampa Bay Rays was overblown. He’s a catcher. Day games after night games always means your catcher sits. Showalter didn’t need the nicked up excuse. Álvarez is a catcher. Catchers are always nicked up.
From what we’ve seen, the Mets can’t take Álvarez out of the everyday lineup. If the Mets want to play Sánchez, fine, He can DH. He can catch the second end of the doubleheader or the day game after the night game. That’s the job of the backup catcher which Sánchez should undoubtedly be.
Make no mistake, Álvarez is better than Sánchez. Whereas Sánchez struggles defensively, Álvarez is very good behind the plate. Whereas Sánchez never fulfilled his offensive potential, Álvarez is giving us very real glimpses into what he can be.
In the end, the Mets were smart to call up Sánchez. If utilized properly, he can be a real weapon for the Mets. However, if he usurps Álvarez this will be a disaster, and it will the latest in Showalter trying to put a stop to the Mets youth movement. The Mets simply cannot let that happen.
The New York Mets rode with their veterans for as long as they could. To a certain extent, you could understand it with Mark Canha being an integral part of a 101 win team. However, even with that in the 8-7 extra inning win over the Tampa Bay Rays, Buck Showalter did what needed to be done, and he hit Brett Baty for Canha.
Given the fact Eduardo Escobar and Tommy Pham were already out of the game, that meant Baty was going to have to play left field. It also meant that was the first time we got to see Francisco Álvarez, Baty, and Mark Vientos in the field for the Mets at the same time.
In many ways, this was the dawn of a new era of Mets baseball. We knew that Álvarez was always going to be the catcher of the future. It seemed Baty surpassed Vientos as the third baseman of the future. The question was what was to happen with Vientos. DH seemed to be the spot, but perhaps, there’s a new roadmap in place.
We got a glimpse of what Álvarez can do. He’s already an excellent defensive catcher, which has been a very pleasant surprise. We also saw him channel his inner Mike Piazza to hit the game tying homer in the ninth.
The Kids Are Alright!
Francisco Álvarez caps a big @Mets comeback! pic.twitter.com/jzSwfRZo7H
— MLB (@MLB) May 18, 2023
That was the second Mets homer of the game. The first came from Vientos. He was called up to the majors because of his power at the plate. We all suspected it was game changing power, and we saw that happen when he homered in the seventh to tie the game at 2-2. It took a Mets team that looked down and out and put a jolt into them,.
WELCOME BACK TO THE BIG LEAGUES MARK VIENTOS!!!!
THIS GAME IS TIED! pic.twitter.com/z8iegpI5pF
— SNY (@SNYtv) May 18, 2023
We also know Pete Alonso hit the walk-off homer in the tenth to give the Mets an unexpected and much needed win. Of course, Alonso homering there only highlights the problem the Mets have. With Alonso at first, the team cannot put Vientos at first to put Baty at third like they did in Syracuse.
No, Vientos either has to play third or DH. Asking a young player to DH is sometimes an issue, and it would be better for him to play third. Looking to the offseason, the Mets also want to keep DH open to try to entice Shohei Ohtani, but that is a discussion for another time.
The discussion for right now is how to get Baty and Vientos onto the field at the same time. Perhaps, Baty having to play left field in an emergency is the roadmap. Perhaps, the Mets could try putting Baty in left with Vientos at third.
For what it is worth, Baty looked good there in 250 innings in the minors. His 27.1 ft/sec sprint speed is quicker than Pham and is sufficient to play left. He’d be one of the slower left fielders, but with his quick reactions formed while training for third. There is also the fact the Mets were preparing for that eventuality when they initially agreed to terms with Carlos Correa.
Vientos is not a great third baseman. It’s one of the reasons he was usurped by Baty. We saw him make a great throw to get Jose Siri, but he also made a rough throw that cost the Mets a chance at a double play. However, he is vastly improved defensively, and he has a game changing bat.
The Mets can and should bring Luis Guillorme back up to fill in for late inning defense. Canha can be available for that as well. They can use Escobar to spell third on occasion. Using key veterans like Canha, Escboar, and Guillorme will help the Mets keep Baty and VIentos in games.
It will also help the Mets get the most out of their young players. It will help them make Álvarez, Baty, and Vientos the core of this team now and for the future.
The New York Mets finally broke glass for emergency and called up Mark Vientos from Triple-A Syracuse. The move was needed after the Mets went 56 innings without a homer, and the team dropped to three games under .500.
VIentos is not going to fix all that ails that Mets. After all, he can’t help José Quintana heal faster. He can’t get Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander to rewind the clock a year. He can’t get David Peterson to rediscover his ability to pitch.
All Vientos can do is go out there and hit. Even on a team with Pete Alonso, Vientos could possibly be the Mets best power bat at the moment. So far this year, he has a 169 wRC+ and 1.104 OPS with Triple-A Syracuse. He has also posted historically higher exit velocities than Alonso did in the minors.
Of course, none of that is here or there. Mostly, it just highlights how the Mets have two very similar power bats in the lineup in Alonso and Vientos. Of course, the Mets can only take advantage of that by actually playing Vientos.
Mark Vientos with his 13th HR of the season.
107.2 mph off the bat and traveled 411 feet.
— Mathew Brownstein (@MBrownstein89) May 17, 2023
So far this season, we have seen Buck Showalter reticent to play his younger players and/or give them more responsibility. When Brett Baty was called up, he started in a platoon. When Francisco Álvarez was called up, he was named the back-up catcher, and even after winning the job from Tomás Nido, he still can’t get above hitting ninth in the lineup.
With Vientos, the Mets already have Daniel Vogelbach as the DH. Showalter does not like playing rookies over veterans, and it is going to be difficult to do that with Vogelbach with him being productive with a 119 wRC+.
That said, Vogelbach has been slumping, and he has not come close to posting the power numbers expected from a DH. More to the point, Vogelbach is not capable of providing the damage at the plate Vientos potentially can.
Certainly, there will be the impetus to make Vientos a platoon option with Vogelbach usurping the role Tommy Pham was supposed to have. Notably, Vientos struggled in that platoon role last season, and you have to believe Showalter remembers those struggles.
To his credit, Vientos has been better for those struggles. He has significantly cut down on his strike out rate. With his making more contact, he is destroying baseballs in Triple-A. He promises to add a dynamic to the Mets offense they sorely need.
However, that only works if he actually plays. That does not mean a platoon at third with Baty. It does not mean a platoon at DH with Vogelbach. It means in the lineup everyday. That is the expectation, but we will see if that is the plan Showalter has.
When teams are struggling, many times fans want to see the best prospects in the organization. That goes double when those prospects are putting up big numbers in the minors. It’s not a bad thought as this is the best and easiest way to improve the ballclub and/or see if that is an area which needs to be addressed at the trade deadline.
When it comes to the Mets, fans want to see Ronny Mauricio and Mark Vientos called up. Unfortunately, Mets fans are wrong here, at least for now.
For Mauricio, there is presumably a spot as he could move to second base allowing Jeff McNeil to shift to left to take Mark Canha out of the lineup. The underlying concept has merit, but it is misplaced when you consider Mauricio isn’t ready for the majors.
Yes, Mauricio was the LIDOM MVP (a level of baseball below Triple-A). He was great in spring, and so far this season, Mauricio has a 134 wRC+. This is only part of the story.
Mauricio also has a 4.2 BB%. With that being the lowest mark of his professional career, we see he is not improving on his greatest weakness as a player. His swing at everything approach is problematic and does not portend for success at the major league level.
Consider for a moment that’s actually lower than what Amed Rosario had in the minors. Rosario came up to the majors, and he couldn’t maximize his abilities because he never learned any patience at the plate. When he got to the majors, things got worse.
Mauricio is potentially a big part of the Mets future. If the Mets want him to be that, they need to call him up when he’s ready. He’s not ready now, and his bad habits are only going to intensify. With those habits, there’s not promises he outhits anyone on the Mets roster, and as a result, Mauricio needs to stay in Triple-A.
As for Vientos, he’s absolutely ready with the bat. Arguably, he would have more power than anyone in the Mets lineup, and he could provide the power so desperately needed by this team.
The question is where does he play?
Vientos isn’t going to supplant Pete Alonso at first base. Brett Baty is better defensively at third, and he has been hitting with a 115 wRC+. Daniel Vogelbach isn’t hitting like a traditional DH, but he has been productive with a 134 wRC+. As the Mets found out, Vientos cannot play the outfield.
That’s the problem with Vientos. there is nowhere to put him. As we saw with Francisco Álvarez, you don’t want to cool off the bat of a red-hot prospect by calling him up to put him on the bench. That leaves Vientos in limbo. He belongs in the majors, but there is no spot for him.
As a result, the Mets issues can’t be resolved by calling up Mauricio and Vientos. Mauricio isn’t ready, and Vientos can’t play the outfield. That leaves the Mets looking in other directions to try to improve as a team.
The New York Mets signed Gary Sánchez to a minor league deal, and they will assign the C/DH to Triple-A Syracuse. Now, the standard rule is there is no such thing as a minor league deal. Those are lottery tickets.
We’ve seen from Baseball Savant, Sánchez annihilates the baseball when he makes contact. He’s actually better behind the plate than advertised. That doesn’t mean he’s good, just better as he has shown the ability to frame well and throw out base runners. He still can’t block the ball.
When you have a Mets team struggling offensively, Sánchez could be a power bat they need. He could share the DH spot with Daniel Vogelbach. He could be a late inning pinch hitter. He could be a third catcher giving the Mets some late inning flexibility.
These are all very good reasons to sign Sánchez. The best part is he could prove to be none of these things leading the Mets to keep him in Syracuse or release him at one point.
The question is whether the Mets can be trusted with Sánchez. Maybe it is reading too much into things, but this appears to be a direct threat to the playing time of Francisco Álvarez‘s playing time.
Things did not start well for Álvarez after the Omar Narváez injury. However, that was partially the result of Buck Showalter‘s insistence on making Álvarez the back-up to Tomás Nido. The red-hot hitting Álvarez went cold at the plate initially.
With Nido’s struggles, the Mets have been all but forced to play Álvarez, and he has responded quite well. He has been elite in terms of pitch framing, and he’s blocking balls well. Over his past 13 games, he is hitting .286/.342/.429. Those are not the numbers we expect in the long run, but it’s productive, and more importantly, it’s a start.
The very last thing the Mets should be doing is taking away Álvarez’s playing time. Certainly, the Mets cannot look to Sánchez to play over Álvarez in the long or short term. Simply put, Álvarez is right now the better defensive and offensive player.
Still, this is a Mets team with a weird affinity towards former players of Showalter with the Baltimore Orioles, and we see Billy Eppler keeping an eye out for his former players with the Yankees and Los Angeles Angels. That’s fine for depth and minor league signings. It is a whole other thing when we see it play out at the Major League level.
On the surface, Sánchez is a GREAT minor league signing. There is talent there, and if you can unlock it, watch out! That said, we should remain skeptical as to the Mets true motives as it has a very direct impact on what they do with Álvarez.
Right now, the New York Mets are 17-18. They’re under .500. As Bill Parcells has been credited with saying, “You are what your record says you are.” Well, that means the Mets are not a good team.
There are caveats we can throw out there, and to be fair, they should be noted.
We saw José Quintana and Justin Verlander start the year on the IL. Carlos Carrasco is on the IL. Max Scherzer didn’t hit the IL, but he was having some issues before the suspension.
Losing four starters like that takes a toll on your rotation and team. Of course, that is a complication of having the oldest rotation in the majors. As oft noted this offseason, rotations this old usually do not make it to the postseason.
The bullpen was thrown a bit into chaos with the unexpected season ending injury to Edwin Díaz. To be fair, the Mets were prepared for that with the addition of David Robertson. The problem is no one outside Robertson and Drew Smith have been very good in the bullpen.
Of course, that is a function of the rotation not going deep into games. That is going to tax the bullpen. However, it is also a function of Billy Eppler not building a complete bullpen over the winter. The bullpen needed 1-2 more arms, and he never got them. He also never replaced Trevor Williams as the long man, which only exacerbates the starting pitching being unable to go deep into games.
Maybe the Mets could weather this storm with more offense, but the offense was left unaddressed in the offseason. The world knew the Mets needed more power in the lineup, and their only attempt was the failed Carlos Correa signing. As a result, the Mets went right back to the lineup which failed against the Atlanta Braves in September and then failed again in the NL Wild Card Series.
The Mets did call up Brett Baty, and he has been good. Francisco Álvarez was put on ice after the Omar Narváez injury, and he has started hitting pretty well. Over the past 13 games, he is hitting .286/.342/.429. These are competent bats right now that are not yet lighting the world on fire.
Of course, that also means they’re some of the Mets more productive bats. You wouldn’t know that because Buck Showalter thinks they belong in the bottom half to bottom third of the lineup. Starling Marte and his 68 wRC+ is permanently entrenched in the second spot in the lineup (the most important spot in the lineup) because he’s fast and a veteran.
Mark Canha has a 91 wRC+, and he mostly bats fifth or sixth because, well, he’s a veteran. Therein lies the problem. Showalter is making decisions based upon 1980s decision making and deference to veterans. It’s not about what best suits the team now.
Sure, not all that ails the Mets is going to be solved by lineup construction. However, when your pitching is struggling this much, and there are so many unproductive bats, you need to get as much of a competitive advantage as you possibly can.
Right now, the Mets aren’t. As a result, they’re an under .500 team. They’re just not a good team, and the manager isn’t really doing what is needed to be done to get some wins right now.
Sure, the Mets can turn things around and still make the postseason. That said, they’re seven games behind the Atlanta Braves and tied with the Miami Marlins for second in the division. The more they don’t do anything the more the division is out of reach leaving them back in that dreaded best-of-three series.
Now is the time for the Mets to focus on their productive players. Let the young players play and thrive. If not, the Mets could be in serious trouble.
No matter how much Buck Showalter wants to defer to the veterans on his team, he needs to stop going back to his failed instincts and trust what he is seeing. Francisco Álvarez has arrived.
This is something that has been slowly building even with Showalter and the Mets wanting to push this off to a later date. After all, if Álvarez establishes himself as a starting catcher, what is the team going to do with Tomás Nido, a very valuable back-up defensive catcher.
More than that, there is Omar Narváez. The Mets signed him to be the starting catcher. Certainly, he looked every bit of that to start the season. In spots, you never want to see a player lose a job due to injury. More than that, the Mets invested in Narváez to start.
All of that is well and good. However, at the end of the day, the Mets main responsibility is to put the best players on the field in order to win games. At the moment, it is getting increasingly difficult to deny Álvarez isn’t the Mets best catcher even when everyone is healthy.
We saw it against the Atlanta Braves. The Mets were trailing 3-2 in the sixth on the verge of getting swept by the Braves. That’s when Álvarez hit a go-ahead two RBI double to give the Mets the lead.
Álvarez for the LEAD! 🙌 pic.twitter.com/DEVORWIayR
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 1, 2023
Looking at the Mets, this is a lineup devoid of some real bats. Álvarez is one of the few bats with game changing power and potential. He not only can do what the other Mets catchers can’t do, but he also can do what the majority of this Mets lineup can’t.
To be fair, catching isn’t about the bat. More than the other positions, it is the one where you have to sacrifice offense for the sake of defense. The catcher’s work behind the plate is far more important than his 3-4 at-bats per game.
Well, right now, Álvarez is tied for fourth overall in catcher framing runs. Per Baseball Savant, Álvarez has the fifth best called strike rate in the majors. In terms of catching and framing pitches he’s not only the Mets best catcher, he’s one of the best in the game.
Looking over the stats from Baseball Savant, Álvarez has been solid blocking balls in the dirt being slightly above average. He has been a negative in terms of the running game with slower pop times.
When you break it all down, you see Álvarez is ready. There is no need for him to be in Triple-A or backing anyone up. He is the Mets best catcher, and he needs to be treated as such right now. The organization can deal with the ramifications of that in-season.
That’s what you do when you have a prospect like Álvarez. When it is his time, you step aside and watch him become everything you thought he could be. He is doing that right now. The Mets just can’t let their manager or front office ignore this and lose sight of what’s really important – winning games with your best players on the field.