The Mets announced on Tuesday night that top prospect and catcher Francisco Alvarez underwent surgery on his right ankle after imaging showed “cartilage damage resulting from the preexisting loose body.”
He is expected to be ready for the start of spring training in February 2023.
The 20-year-old backstop made his MLB debut in late September during the Mets’ penultimate regular-season series against the Atlanta Braves in hopes of providing an offensive spark for a team’s attack that had gone cold at times down the stretch.
Alvarez was rated as baseball’s No. 1 overall prospect by MLB Pipeline this season after batting .260 with an .885 OPS, 27 home runs, and 78 RBI in 112 games between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Syracuse.
He went 2-for-12 over the last week of the regular season, which included his first-career MLB home run against the Washington Nationals.
It was uncertain if Alvarez would even make his MLB debut in 2022 after reports surfaced toward the end of August that he was dealing with that loose body in his right ankle that could have required immediate surgery. However, after visiting New York City for a second opinion on Sept. 1, it was concluded that a procedure could wait.
Should his recovery stay on schedule, Alvarez will be entering a 2023 season in which he could be the favorite to land the Mets’ starting catcher job.
James McCann has struggled mightily in his tenure in New York while Tomas Nido has proven to be a serviceable backup. While there’s little question as to how much of a game-changing bat Alvarez possesses, the spring will be vital in bringing him up to speed when it comes to handling a major-league pitching staff.
He did catch Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom during their minor-league rehab starts over the summer.