In a surprising move, the Mets have added RHP Matthew Allan and C Francisco Alvarez to their player pool. Both are among the top prospects in the system - Allan checked in at number three on our preseason list, with Alvarez ranking sixth - but neither has played a game above Low-A. It’s unclear whether the Mets will be looking for potential major league contributions from these very young prospects or if there is some other motivation for the move.
Of the two, Allan seems the more likely player to have a shot at cracking the MLB roster this season. The Mets famously drafted Allan in the third round after he fell due to signability concerns, then mortgaged the remainder of their picks in the first ten rounds to sign a teenager who very quickly became the best pitching prospect in the system. His best two offerings are a mid-90s fastball and a curveball, both of which are already plus, and he features a changeup that flashes average. Long term, he projects as a potential ace, but it’s at least somewhat conceivable that his best two pitches could get a couple major league hitters out right now.
Alvarez, meanwhile, is a stout-bodied catcher who has performed well beyond his age on both sides of the ball. His offense is what stands out, as he mashed through two rookie levels as a 17-year-old last season. Behind the dish, he’s athletic enough to block everything he needs to, has a cannon for an arm, and has shown an advanced feel for framing. Still, there’s a big gulf between hitting and catching at the lowest levels of the minors and doing the same at the major league level, so anything more than a role as an emergency backstop seems farfetched, even in this wonky season.
It’s worth noting that this move makes both players eligible to be included in trades before the August 31st deadline, as Anthony DiComo points out. Given the options that will likely be available at the deadline and the Mets’ current position in the standings, it is extremely difficult to imagine any player becoming available that would be worth trading either Allan or Alvarez for. Hopefully the Mets are just aiming to expose two of their most promising young players to more coaching and preparing for any extreme trade scenarios rather than actively seeking to make a short-sighted move.