Top prospect Francisco Alvarez has all of the credentials to be a guiding force for the future of the New York Mets. But the Mets are ready to see what he can do in the present, inserting him into the biggest series of the season against the Atlanta Braves.
Called up for his MLB debut prior to the series opener between the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets that could well determine the winner of the National League East, 20-year-old Francisco Alvarez, MLB’s top overall prospect per MLBPipeline.com, was immediately slotted into the Mets lineup on Friday night, serving as the team’s designated hitter and batting seventh.
The Mets are hoping that Alvarez can put some pop into the DH slot, a position that has been sluggish rather than slugger-filled for New York this season. Heading into Friday’s opener, the Mets have gotten minus-1.2 bWAR out of the DH position in 2022, ranking 18th in MLB.
The Mets are expected to use Alvarez at the DH position much more than at catcher throughout the end of the regular season and potentially into the postseason as well. As FanSided’s own Robert Murray explained here, Alvarez could be eligible for the postseason, meaning the Mets could strengthen their lineup during meaningful October baseball … provided Alvarez shows some pop and production in the six remaining games leading up to the postseason.
Francisco Alvarez could impact New York Mets in a big way
If Alvarez can become a force for the Mets in the DH position (especially against left-handed pitching, as he will be facing on Friday night against Atlanta’s Max Fried), New York certainly becomes more formidable, especially if the Mets can win the NL East and earn the second seed, giving the team some rest during the Wild Card round and additional time to set its NLDS roster.
This weekend’s games will not only be a compass for what lies ahead for the Mets as a team this season, but also how Alvarez will be used moving forward.
Why do the Mets need help at DH? Since coming over in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 22, Daniel Vogelbach has 161 plate appearances for the Mets in the DH spot. That’s the second-most of any player this season, only trailing J.D. Davis, who was traded from New York to San Francisco at the trade deadline for Darin Ruf, another candidate to fill in for the Mets at DH. Ruf, however, has slashed just .152/.216/.197 in 28 games with the Mets while Vogelbach slashed just .217/.342/.464 in August and has hit just one home run in September.
Simply put, the opportunity is there for Alvarez to start creating his legacy with the Mets now. An Alvarez that can help the Mets win a series in Atlanta and inch closer to the NL East title would do just that.
What can Alvarez mean for New York’s postseason chances? We’ll know more about that answer after his debut on Friday night and how he fares against a tough trio of Atlanta pitchers this weekend.