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The 11 best Mets minor league hitters I saw this year: 2, Francisco Alvarez

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Counting down the best minor league hitters I saw in 2019.

Francisco Alvarez
Steve Sypa

Team: GCL Mets/Kingsport Mets

Position: C

Born: 11/19/01 (17)

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 220 lbs.

Bats/Throws: R/R

Acquired: IFA, July 2, 2018 (Guatire, Venezuela)

2019 Season: 42 G, 157 AB, .312/.407/.510, 49 H, 10 2B, 0 3B, 7 HR, 21 BB, 37 K, 1/3 SB, .372 BABIP (Rookie/Rookie)

Date(s) Seen: August 12, (1-4, 2B, BB, 2 K), August 13 (1-3, R, 2B, K), August 14 (1-4, RBI, 2 K), August 16 (1-3, 2B, 2 BB, E, CS), August 17 (1-3, R, 2 BB)

The Man

Considered one of the top international rookies in the 2018-2019 class, the Mets pounced on Venezuelan catcher Francisco Alvarez, immediately signing him for a club-high $2.7 million, breaking Ronny Mauricio’s then-record $2.1 million signing bonus. The Mets elected not to have him play professionally that year, instead delaying his professional debut until 2019. The 17-year-old began his year with the GCL Mets, but forced a promotion to Kingsport after hitting .462/.548/.846 in seven games. As the youngest player in the league, Alvarez appeared in 35 games for Kingsport, catching 23 and serving as DH in 12, and hit a robust .282/.377/.443

The Player

Alvarez has a very advanced approach at the plate for someone so young. He stands with a wide base, holding the bat high and barring it behind his head. He swings using a toe tap mechanism, generating power from his stocky body and above-average bat speed. The swing itself is loose and flows, and the ball really jumps off his bat when he makes solid contact. His frame is unlikely to fill in much more, but he will likely add more power in the future thanks to refinements in his swing and an improved eye- and as it is, he already a good eye and a fairly patient approach, recognizing spin well and displaying a good sense of the strike zone.

Along with Andres Regnault and Wilfred Astudillo, Francisco Alvarez has split catching duties for the Kingsport Mets at roughly a 33% timeshare. Though a stocky 5’11”, 220-lbs., he is incredibly mobile behind the dish. In the future, his weight may need effort to maintain, but for now, it should be no issue. He is adept at framing and blocking pitches. His arm is above-average, as are his pop times, release and accuracy. He is wise beyond his years, handling his pitching staff well and generally being an energetic gamer and excellent clubhouse presence. He is also tough as nails, taking a beating behind the plate but not letting it stop him getting into games.

Looking To 2020

Alvarez’ baseball skills on both sides of the plate far surpass the norm for players his age. Whereas most players his age are still in high school or are just getting their footing in professional baseball, Alvarez has conquered Rookie-level ball and based on his tools and numbers, seems ready for full-season ball. The catcher will likely be assigned to Columbia for the 2020, where he will once again be one of the youngest, if not the youngest, players in the league.

The List

3: Mark Vientos

4: Brett Baty

5: Andres Gimenez

6: Jaylen Palmer

7: Shervyen Newton

8: Andres Regnault

9: Hansel Moreno

10: Wilmer Reyes

11: Luke Ritter