Tomas Nido

Buck Showalter Lousy Big Game Manager

If you were the New York Mets, you couldn’t ask for a better situation heading into a big series. Everything was aligned.

Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, and Chris Bassitt were set to go. The bullpen was rested. The team had an off day. They were coming off a momentum building win.

They had everything you need for a big series. Well, everything but the manager because Buck Showalter is not a big game manager.

That was his reputation coming to the Mets. It’s the reason he has only won one postseason series and has a 9-14 (.391) record in the postseason.

Each time he makes at least one flat out wrong move per series. While we a focus on Zack Britton, there was also Bobby Chouinard and Jack McDowell. That’s just scratching the surface.

There were hopes Showalter grew as a manager. However, after the first game of this series, it’s very clear he’s the same manager he always has been. There were far too many bad decisions to conclude otherwise.

The first six were the first six. The Mets rode deGrom until his blister said he had to come out of the game. Max Fried left after five, but the Mets were obviously keeping the top of their lineup in against Colin McHugh.

The seventh was where Showalter was a disaster, and things didn’t improve.

Eduardo Escobar hit a two out double off Raisel Iglesias bringing Francisco Álvarez to the plate. At that point. Álvarez was 0-for-2 with a GIDP.

The Mets brought Daniel Vogelbach and Tyler Naquin to the Mets specifically to hit right-handed pitching. Neither batted, and Álvarez flew out to end the inning.

As noted, deGrom was out after six, and the Mets had a fully rested bullpen. For some unfathomable reason, Showalter opted for Tylor Megill.

Megill has struggled since coming off the IL. It’s difficult to know if he’s rusty or struggling to adapt to the bullpen. Megill struggled and allowed two earned.

That made a clove two run game into a far more difficult four run deficit. There was no reason for Megill to pitch there.

That’s similar to Álvarez batting. These are moves after you clinch or have a big lead. That’s not what you do when you’re in the heat of a pennant race.

This isn’t JV tryouts or the Arizona Fall League. These games count, and the Mets have to be their best in terms of deciding anything. The Mets don’t need to know what Álvarez needs to do in that spot. They need to win these games.

We saw it again in the eighth. The Mets are down four. They need base runners to get a rally going. Luis Guillorme is having a good day at the plate, and he has a .355 OBP.

Nope, we have to see how Mark Vientos hits A.J. Minter. If you are a run behind and need a big fly, that’s one thing. Vientos adds that dynamic. However, the Mets were down four. They needed Guillorme and his on base skills in the spot.

After the Mets scored one on a Tomás Nido homer, Showalter sent out Joely Rodriguez to face two right-handed batters. Rodriguez has been the Mets worst reliever all season.

Yes, it did work. However, like with Megill, this was low leverage decision making in a close high leverage game and inning. Megill and Rodriguez are supposed to be spectators in the spot.

In the top of the ninth, the bases were loaded with one out. Kenley Jansen was struggling with his command. If there was ever a spot which begged for Vogelbach, this was it.

Again, Vogelbach was brought in to face right-handed pitching. He has a 148 wRC+ against right-hanged pitching. He’s got as good an eye and is as patient at the plate as anyone.

But no, Showalter sent up Álvarez to see what he can do. Yes, you can argue he’s a power hitter, but so is Vogelbach. Against a season battled tested closer, Álvarez struck out.

Go over this game again. This was not managed as an important game for a team looking to win the NL East.

Álvarez batted twice over Vogelbach in big spots. Vientos came up for Guillorme. Megill and Rodriguez pitched over everyone.

You expect this in Spring Training. You expect this from a team trying to play spoiler and need to see something from their young players. This is not how a team with a one game less late in the season manages a game.

Again, this isn’t a blip. This is who Showalter is. It’s who he was when he was blowing the ALDS, NLDS, and Wild Card Games. This is who he is as the Mets manager.

Yes, the Mets lost because deGrom battled blisters allowing three runs. They lost because they only scored two runs. They also lost because their managed managed this game like it was Spring Training just like he does all big games.

Álvarez And Vientos Show Mets Won’t Let Mistakes Define Them

On August 2, 2022, the New York Mets traded J.D. Davis along with prospects Carson Seymour, Thomas Szapucki, and Nick Zwack. for then San Francisco Giants 1B/OF/DH Darin Ruf. It was a trade widely panned at the time due to the prospect overpay. However, this is the type of trade where if the Mets won the World Series no one would really care about the overpay.

The converse to this is naturally the overpay is highlighted when the player struggles. This is why teams typically will not admit a mistake and do everything they can to try to make the trade work. If they can get just one big hit or a small hitting streak, they can point to that to say they didn’t completely mess up. What most teams don’t realize is that player struggling mightily only makes the trade worse because the player not only struggles, but they also inhibit a team’s chances of winning.

Things with Ruf actually started great. In his first Mets plate appearance, he hit a pinch hit double. The problem is Ruf has done absolutely nothing after that. In 28 games, he is hitting .152/.216/.197 with three doubles and seven RBI. It is not hyperbole to say the Mets have gotten more from him as a pitcher (two scoreless innings in a blowout loss) than they have as a position player.

Part of this was probably the Mets fault. They took a player who played semi-regularly, and they asked him to be a pure bench/platoon option. Unfortunately, Ruf was not suited for the role. Make no mistake, this was an unforced error and a complete gaffe by the Mets. They gave it a little less than two months before admitting defeat and investigating their other options.

Mets teams of old play and lose with Ruf. This Mets team doesn’t care about how their image and competency are adjudged. They know that will solely be defined by winning the World Series. The Mets saw Ruf would’ve hindered those chances. Instead, the Mets needed to pursue other options who would give them a better chance to win.

First, it was Mark Vientos. In Oakland, it did seem like he was figuring things out. We would even see him hit his first Major League homer. He was cutting down on the strikeouts and taking better at-bats. The thing is he had chances in his last game in big spots, and he didn’t deliver.

We have seen enough from Vientos to see he is going to be a power hitter at the Major League level. In his minor league career, he has shown the ability to make adjustments and thrive at the plate. However, with the Mets waiting so long before calling him up to the majors, he might not have that time he needs to get comfortable, adjust, and thrive before playing in the postseason.

With that in mind, the Mets called up Francisco Álvarez, the player Keith Law dropped a Mike Piazza comp on before the season. Certainly, with the 27 homers, Álvarez has backed that up. Mets fans have been waiting for this since Álvarez said in Spring Training his goal was to make it to the majors this season. He probably would’ve made it sooner if not for that ankle injury.

Right now, it seems Álvarez is here to DH in one game and be available as a pinch hitting option. While Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer were complimentary of his work behind the plate, a team that is going to win and lose the World Series based on their pitching cannot sit James McCann and Tomas Nido, who are exceptional framers.

No, for now, this is a one shot deal. Álvarez is here to DH. He is here because Ruf couldn’t do the job. He is here because the Mets are still unsure if Vientos can do the job. Mostly, he is here because this Mets team will not be defined by their mistakes. Instead, they will be defined by winning.

 

Mets Projected Postseason Roster

While the division is still up for grabs, the New York Mets are definitively headed to the postseason. While their opponent remains to be seen, we can start looking at who will be on the roster. After all, the Mets have begun doing that themselves by playing Mark Vientos in addition to taking looks at starters Tylor Megill and David Peterson in the bullpen.

While September rosters are at 28, rosters will drop back down to 26 for the postseason. So with that, at least two players currently on the roster will not be on the postseason roster. With that in mind, here’s a look at who is currently a lock to make the postseason roster.

CATCHERS (2)

Believe it or not, Francisco Alvarez could potentially be added to the postseason roster. However, that’s only in the event of an injury to McCann or Nido and another to Michael Perez. Put another way, we’re going to see McCann and Nido all postseason.

INFIELDERS (5)

There are no surprises here. This is obviously the starting infield with the Escobar/Guillorme platoon. Of course, Marte’s health will impact if Guillorme and Escobar play everyday with McNeil in right field against right-handed pitching.

OUTFIELDERS (3)

The obvious caveat here is Marte. If he is good to go, there are four outfielders who will be good to go. However, at the moment, we do not know how or if Marte can play through the pain. Keep in mind, that broken middle finger is inhibiting his ability to throw.

DH (1)

Simply put, Darin Ruf is not doing enough to secure a spot on the postseason roster, and the same goes for Vientos at the moment. The Mets obviously brought Gore in for the sole purpose of being a pinch runner, but his spot may be in some doubt with the Mets platoon strategy. Marte’s health may very well impact who is carried to be the right-handed DH with Marte himself being a possibility.

STARTERS (5)

We now the top three will be deGrom, Scherzer, and Bassitt. At the moment, it looks like the Mets will have to decide between Carrasco. Whichever they pick, it would be an absolute shock if the Mets do not put the other starter in the bullpen for the postseason.

BULLPEN (4)

There are a name or two here that may very well be here, but at the moment, this is the only group that can be considered a lock. Yes, it is a surprise that’s it after a long season and multiple opportunities for upgrades.

With all the aforementioned players, the Mets have 20 players who are locks for the postseason roster. Per MLB roster rules, the Mets (or any team) can only carry up to 13 pitchers. At the moment, the Mets have nine pitchers considered as locks. As a result, the Mets can add up to four more pitchers leaving them to add two position players.

POSITION PLAYER BUBBLE

If Marte is healthy and ready to go, he will be on the postseason roster. However, the Mets have to be very careful here. If they carry Marte in the first round series, and he can’t go that puts them in a very precarious spot. That means they’re going to be down a player for the round, lose Marte for the ensuing series if he needs to be replaced on the roster, or both.

Marte’s availability is the biggest question mark, and it may be the biggest issue with how the roster is comprised.

For example, Gore was brought here solely to pinch run in the postseason. However, if Marte is still working his way back, the Mets just may roll the dice and use Marte for the role and revisit it again for the next series. If Marte can’t play the field but can DH, that takes Ruf and Vientos completely out of the picture.

Essentially, what Marte can and can’t do will dictate which two players will make the roster. Ideally, the Mets probably want to carry Marte and Gore, but we will see if that is a possibility. Of course, we can’t rule out the possibility, the Mets carry just 12 pitchers with a reliever going to the bullpen to allow the Mets to carry Marte, Gore, and one of Ruf/Vientos.

RELIEF PITCHER BUBBLE

As noted above, we can see the Mets carry 3-4 pitchers from this group. Keep in mind, who the Mets carry from this group may be somewhat opponent dependent.

Right off the bat, the Mets would carry Givens, but he is on the COVID IL. Until he is activated, we are not quite sure if he can be carried on the postseason roster, at least not in the first round. Assuming for a second Givens is available, things get interesting.

Realistically speaking, the Mets will carry Rodriguez even though he has been bad all year. Of course, Lucchesi is a wild card here. However, if we don’t see him pitch in the Majors soon, there is just no way the Mets can carry him on the postseason roster.

If the Mets want two left-handed relievers, they are definitively going to carry Rodriguez and Peterson (short of Lucceshi being good to go). If they carry both, and Givens is healthy, that may just be a full bullpen depending on what the Mets want to do from a position player perspective.

To a certain degree, that squeezes Williams off the postseason roster. That is unfair and dubious considering he has been one of the Mets best pitchers all season. That said, if you’re carrying your best pitchers, Williams has been that all season.

Theoretically, Megill of Co-No fame would be left off the roster. At the moment, Megill is trying to prove he can be utilized in the bullpen.

Overall, this all hinges on Marte’s health. The role if he can play, if he can play role at all, can dictate just how the Mets are able to comprise their postseason roster. Right now, there are eight games for players to secure their place on the roster leaving a number of moving pieces and decisions yet to be made.

 

 

Joey Cora Can’t Be Serious

The Pittsburgh Pirates had fired Joey Cora because he was literally the worst third base coach in the game. We saw that early in the season as he had some indefensibly bad sends.

That said, he seemed to improve after April. Admittedly, his decision making at third base had not been an issue since April.

However, we are now seeing the return of Cora from April; the return of the worst third base coach in the game.

In the second game of the five game set against the Atlanta Braves, the Mets were down 8-0 in the second. Bases were loaded with two outs. Brandon Nimmo ripped a single scoring one.

The Mets had one on the board with Ian Anderson on the ropes. They had a chance to get back into the game with Anderson all over the place and the heart of the lineup due up. Then, Cora happened:

The play wasn’t even close. Guillorme was out by a large margin. Cora had run the Mets out of the inning. It’s the type of decision you get from the worst third base coach in the game.

The first game of the three game set was a pitchers’ duel. It was 1-1 with Starling Marte at third and one out. Remember, this is the same Marte who has been very cautious with a nagging injury, and as a result, we have not seen him trying to steal bases.

Daniel Vogelbach hit a shallow fly ball to left. Very shallow. Matt Vierling had all of his momentum going towards the plate and unleashed a strike:

Marte was out by a significant margin. That ended the inning, and the Mets would lose in extras.

On both plays, Cora made a send he never should have made. He also clearly didn’t account for the catchers.

Travis d’Arnaud and J.T. Realmuto are great on those tag plays. d’Arnaud is probably the best in the game. They lessen the need for the “perfect throw,” and they’re not flubbing it the way Tomás Nido did.

Another thing, neither play required the perfect throw. It just needed a throw. Both runners were easily out. In the end, they were both indefensibly bad decisions.

Cora cost the Mets a chance to win in both games. The hope is that he doesn’t do that come October when his decision making may cost the Mets a postseason series.

Mets Showing Braves Who Is Best NL East Team

So far, the New York Mets have dominated the Atlanta Braves over the first four games of this five game set. Like the prior matchups, the Mets are just proving they’re the better team.

The only game the Braves won was when Taijuan Walker had that odd step on the mound. He says he was alright, but his pitching was clearly impacted.

The two best players in this series have been Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor. With all due respect to Michael Harris, the best defensive play came from Luis Guillorme.

As Carlos Carrasco, David Peterson, and Max Scherzer have shown, the Braves cannot handle the Mets starting pitching. Then again, who can? Oh, and by the way, the Mets have Jacob deGrom up for the finale.

After the dominant starting pitching comes Edwin Díaz. Like the rest of baseball, the Braves haven’t been able to do anything against him either.

Buck Showalter is managing circles around Brian Snitker. He’s expertly deploying Tyler Naquin, Darin Ruf, and Tyler Naquin, and he’s getting great production from each of them.

Showalter also had the stones to have Tomás Nido lay down that suicide squeeze. With Naquin’s speed and Nido’s bunting ability, that’s knowing your roster and managing to their strengths.

Win or lose the finale, the Mets have taken the series. Win, and the Mets will have wrapped up the NL East in the beginning of August and can their sites on catching the Los Angeles Dodgers for the top overall record.

For those nervous at this statement, put 2007 aside. That year never happened, and really, this is a far different and deeper team.

This is the Mets team with the best chance of winning the World Series since 1986. It can and will happen. This Braves series is all the proof we need.

Francisco Álvarez Time Is Coming

According to reports, it appears James McCann will be ready to return from the IL sooner than expected. That’s great news for a team getting nothing offensively from Tomás Nido and really nothing at all from Patrick Mazeika.

McCann’s return probably takes the Mets out of the Willson Contreras hunt. With this being a pitching first team and his framing, that’s not a bad thing.

However, that doesn’t mean the Mets should completely overlook upgrading the catcher position. On that point, it appears Francisco Álvarez is getting closer and closer.

When first called up to Triple-A, Álvarez struggled. Over his first eight games, he was batting .087/.324/.130. What should stand out there is the .324 OBP.

That was a sign he wasn’t being dominated. In fact, it was just the hits weren’t coming. He was not yet driving the ball. However, he was in the at-bat, and even while struggling and adapting, he was finding ways on base.

From there, he went to the MLB Future’s Game in Los Angeles during the All-Star Break. Álvarez was 0-for-1 with a walk, but he came back to Syracuse a different player.

Since he returned, Álvarez is 5-for-21 with two doubles, two homers, and eight RBI. Astoundingly, he’s walked eight times. That’s a .238/.448/.639 batting line.

Notably, he continues getting on base. In fact, he’s drawn a walk in four straight games and seven of his last eight games. Of those seven games, five of them were multi-walk games.

Now, we see the power coming. There’s also some clutch there with a grand slam and walk-off homer.

Álvarez now has a three game hitting streak, and he has a hit in five of the six games after the Future’s Game. In five of those six, he’s reached base multiple times.

While this is a multi-layered approach and analysis, in Álvarez, we see a player getting closer and closer to being Major League ready. With every walk and extra base hit, he gets closer to Queens.

In the end, McCann can be healthy. Nido can be strong behind the plate. However, when Álvarez is ready, nothing is going to stop him from getting to the majors. Increasingly, it looks like that’ll happen this year.

Willson Contreras Bad Fit For Mets

When you look at the New York Mets, the obvious area to address for offense is catcher. After all, Tomas Nido has a 47 wRC+, and Patrick Mazeika has a 39. That’s just indefensibly bad offensive production.

Now, this is the obvious spot where we say the Mets should call-up Francisco Alvarez. With Alvarez hitting a double and grand slam in consecutive games, we are not at that point yet. After all, he is hitting .125/.318/.281 over 10 games. You can argue that will probably translate better than what they are getting now, but with Alvarez, it is more than just what he can give you now.

Surveying the trade market, it would seem Willson Contreras and his career best 140 wRC+ would be a perfect fit. In actuality, this would be a mistake for the Mets.

Ultimately, this is a team built on its pitching. A large part of that has been the work Nido has done behind the plate.

Nido has been a terrific framer. In fact, as per Baseball Savant, he is tied as for 14th best among framers. He’s a good week from moving up to the top 10. While he doesn’t rate nearly as high, he does have impressive pop times. He is a defensive wizard back there, and he’s helping the Mets pitching staff.

This season, the Mets staff have the sixth best ERA (3.60) and FIP (3.65) and the best K/9 (9.65). They’re also walking few batters with their 2.86 BB/9 ranking seventh. The pitching staff is dominant, and more than anything else, that is why the Mets are in first place.

Look at it another way, this team cannot hit their way out of a paper bag right now. Still, they’re 9-7 over their last 16. The biggest reason is the pitching. Since Max Scherzer has come all the IL, the starting rotation has a 1.70 ERA, which is easily the best in the majors. This right here is the Mets strength, and it’s going to be more of a strength when Jacob deGrom returns from the IL.

This is also before you see Edwin Diaz is finally comfortable and dominating. He’s easily the best closer in baseball right now.

Contreras would only serve to diminish that.

Contreras has one of the worst called strike rates in the majors. Sure, part of that could be the Chicago Cubs pitching staff, and overall, Contreras has good framing numbers. However, as noted by the strike rate, that is deceiving. Maybe things will be better with the Mets, maybe not. Given what’s at stake, it’s too big of a risk to take.

If Contreras doesn’t jive with the Mets pitchers, that’s it. This team’s strength has taken a massive hit. Now, you have another Wilson Ramos situation where you’re just relying on him to hit. That’s a dicey proposition.

For his career, Contreras is a 127 wRC+ at Wrigley and a 108 on the road. That’s carried into this year where he is a 150 wRC+ at home and a 127 on the road. Again, he is far better at home, and an important note here, while it’s only a 15 game sample size, he hits .180/.263/.260 at Citi Field.

Ultimately, even if Ramos is at his career worst at the plate, he’s a significant upgrade over what the Mets already have offensively. However, catcher is a defensive position above all else. It is about the roughly 40 plate appearances you are behind the plate over the four you get yourself. Looking at it that way, what Nido is doing is far more valuable.

The Mets can improve their offense by addressing other areas. Even with Daniel Vogelbach, they can improve at DH. They can improve at third and left. Maybe if Alvarez is ready, they can improve there. What they can’t do right now is gamble on Contreras. That is a move that can hurt them more than it can help them.

 

Mets Need Offense, Bullpen, Luck At Trade Deadline

The line of demarcation for the New York Mets season seems to be June 1. Somehow, someway, it is always June for the Mets.

Entering June, the Mets had the best offense in baseball, and they were running away with the National League East. Since that time, the Mets offense has a 99 wRC+ which is 21st in the majors and seventh worst in the NL.

Keep in mind, the only teams with a worst offense are also-run teams with zero shot at making the postseason. What makes this worse is the Mets starting pitching has been phenomenal over this stretch. Their 3.45 ERA ranks sixth best in the majors and third best in the National League.

Keep in mind, much of that time was while the team had Trevor Williams in the rotation, Chris Bassitt was trying to get on the same page with Tomas Nido and Patrick Mazeika, and Carlos Carrasco was fighting fatigue. It was also a rotation without Max Scherzer for over a month.

Since Scherzer has been back, Mets starters have easily been the best in the majors with a 1.70 ERA. However, the Mets are only 9-7. Moreover, the Mets as a team are 25-20 since June 1 seeing their NL East lead dwindle from 10.5 games to 1.5 games.

Yes, part of the reason is the Atlanta Braves are on a historic tear. However, it has more to do with the Mets. Again, this team is not hitting. Morevoer, the bullpen has just been flat out bad.

Right now, Edwin Diaz is the only reliever the Mets can and will trust. The problem is he only throws one inning a night. The second best reliever on the team by ERA, Colin Holderman, was traded for Daniel Vogelbach. It’s at the point right now where the only set-up reliever the team can trust is Adam Ottavino.

Look at it another way. For the season, Mets relievers have a 3.53 ERA. On the surface, that is pretty good as it ranks as 10th best in the majors and fourth best in the NL.However, that includes Diaz and Holderman.

When you back out Diaz and Holderman, the Mets bullpen ERA rises to 3.90, which would rank 16th. That’s where the Mets bullpen is. They have a great closer, but they have a middling and unstable bridge to him. Arguably, they need a whole new bullpen.

Really, the Mets need luck. They need the kind of luck they had when Yoenis Cespedes became the best player on the planet and Addison Reed was the best set-up reliever out of the 2015 trade deadline.

That’s the thing. It’s not just getting players. It’s getting them to perform. Also, as we saw with 2015, the team got healthy and had help from the minors with Michael Conforto.

The Mets need to get a right-handed bat to push out J.D. Davis once and for all. They need a Francisco Alvarez or Mark Vientos to get called up to help at some point. Seeing the Mets catching situation, the Mets really need Alvarez to go on a tear in Triple-A to force a call-up.

Jacob deGrom needs to healthy. With him and the rest of three rotation going deep, it’ll lessen the burden and innings required from the bullpen.

Trevor May needs to be healthy. David Peterson needs to transition well to the bullpen. Peterson and Williams need to pitch well there, and Buck Showalter has to be willing to use them.

Vogelbach needs to hit as does Davis’ eventual replacement. The ship has probably sailed on relying on Eduardo Escobar hitting leaving his replacement needing to hit.

Really, the Mets need a lot. We’ve previously seen it can be done. Maybe not by Billy Eppler judging from his Los Angeles Angels tenure, but it can be done.

The trade deadline is a little more than a week away. What the Mets do will likely determine whether they win the division and just how deep they’ll go in the postseason.

Showalter Chooses Nido Over McNeil And Winning

Think of a situation where you would choose to bat Tomás Nido over Jeff McNeil. Can’t think of it, right?

What if I told you the game was on the line? Down one. Tying run on second. Winning run on third.

Even more unfatomable to go with Nido over McNeill. Well, it gets better.

Nido had to leave the previous game after a Max Scherzer pitch hit him in the wrist. The concern was such that the Mets traded for Michael Perez from the Pittsburgh Pirates, who is having a terrible tear framing and hitting.

It gets better.

Nido was a surprise starter. During the game, Nido’s injured hand was stomped on by Jake Cronenworth in the eighth inning.

So, Nido had a hand injury stemming from a Scherzer fastball. Then, a day later, it gets stomped on in the eighth inning. Somehow, Nido gets to bat with a game on the line.

Short of McNeil getting the Monty Python black knight treatment, it’s ludicrous to think anyone in their right mind would bat Nido over McNeil?

Honestly, who cares if it’s Taylor Rogers or Randy Johnson? McNeil has a 109 wRC+ against left-handed pitching this year and 111 for his career.

Nido has a 55 wRC+ against left-handed pitching, which is far better than the 38 he has against right-handed pitching. For his career, he has a 69 wRC+ against left-handed pitching.

Nido is only in the lineup because if his work behind the plate. He’s never thete to hit. That’s the case whether it’s the first or the bottom of the ninth with two outs and the tying and go-ahead runs on base.

But, that’s just what Buck Showalter did. He let Nido go up there and pop out to end the game while McNeil set on the bench.

If you thought he had a good explanation fir it, well, you’d be sadly mistaken:

Remember, this is the same Showalter who left Zack Britton in the bullpen and who used Jack McDowell. He had Bobby Chouinard pitch to Edgardo Alfonzo.

There were articles upon articles last year demanding Luis Rojas be fired, and he never did anything this dumb. We won’t see the same with Showalter.

What’s odd was the clamoring for him. He’s won nowhere, and he keeps doing things like this. There’s a reasons he’s won nowhere.

This time, it was Nido over McNeil. Given his track record, we should all shudder over what it will be next.

Francisco Álvarez Needs To Wait

James McCann is out with an injury, and we have no idea how long it will be. Chances are it may effectively be a season ending injury. That leaves the Mets with Tomás Nido. As we have seen with Nido, he does his job behind the plate, and as a result, the New York Mets have been comfortable using him as their main catcher.

The problem is they haven’t been as comfortable with Patrick Mazeika. That is understandable with Mazeika having a 41 wRC+. With him being an average framer, carrying that bat is a problem. Yes, it is a small sample size, but it’s essentially what Mazeika has been, i.e. a poor man’s version of Josh Thole.

When Mazeika is looked upon as a stopgap, he has been more than fine. However, the Mets need more than that now. After all, the Mets are looking for a catching tandem to take them through what is now a tight NL East race and potentially into the postseason.

Seeing what he did in Double-A, the natural impetus is to renew the calls for Francisco Álvarez. There are many, many good reasons to consider it.

Max Scherzer was impressed with his work behind the plate during his rehab start. There have been more and more people noting the significant improvement he has made. Arguably, the bat is already there, and many Mets fans are looking upon him as being able to have the same type of impact Michael Conforto had in 2015.

None of this should be dismissed outright. It is shouldn’t be dismissed he is right not viewed as the best prospect in the minor leagues. With him, everyone sees a future star, and we have already seen Keith Law of The Athletic drop a Mike Piazza comp on Álvarez with no one thinking it was ridiculous.

That all said, in Triple-A, you see some cause for patience. Over his first five games, he is hitting just .125/.286/.188 with a double and two RBI. He has struck out five times in 21 plate appearances (not bad at all) while drawing two walks.

Yes, this is an extremely small sample size to which no conclusions should be drawn. Rather, we need to use it for perspective.

Álvarez is a 20 year old catcher. He was the youngest player in the Eastern League, and he’s the youngest player in Triple-A. In fact, he’s 6.5 years younger than league average. That will be more pronounced at the Major League level.

That may be a factor why he is not hitting . . . yet. Ultimately, we know he will hit at this level. To that point, just wait for it. It could be a week, month, or in 2023. The Mets don’t know. Whatever the case, they don’t want to rush a player who is not quite hitting yet in Triple-A and then tell him to go out there and hit Major League pitching.

We’ve seen this mistake in the past. The Mets rushed Mike Pelfrey in 2006 because they needed pitching. He wasn’t ready, and you can argue, to a certain extent, it hampered Pelfrey’s development. He became a viable Major League pitcher but nothing more.

We saw the Chicago Cubs do it with Kyle Schwarber in 2015. They needed the bat, so they took him out from behind the plate. Schwarber has hit, but he went from horrendous LF to can’t play first to a DH.

The Mets won’t play Álvarez in the outfield, but rushing him before he is absolutely ready to catch Major League pitching can have negative consequences on a catcher’s career. After all, look at Gary Sanchez‘s career. He went from future superstar to traded to the Minnesota Twins for a Twins salary dump just so Sanchez can be a bad DH.

That’s the Mets current problem. They have a phenom everyone thinks will be an All-Star or more. They see a player who fits a need RIGHT NOW for a team capable of winning a World Series. Yes, if Álvarez is ready, he puts this team over the top, but when he’s not hitting in Triple-A, the risk is too great.

No, the Mets have to hold out for now. At a minimum, let Álvarez get hot in Triple-A, and then, lets have that conversation. Unfortunately, we just cant’ have it right now.