Francisco Alvarez becoming logical in-house option to boost DH spot, Mets offense

Francisco Alvarez Mets
Francisco Alvarez (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

The Mets could use the power bat of Francisco Alvarez this summer.

The last week against the Houston Astros only exacerbated the New York’s need for another offensive threat to plug in the middle third of their lineup. 

While they were swept by the AL powerhouse in a two-game series on Wednesday for the second time in a week, the Mets are now facing their first three-game losing streak of the season while scoring just one run in their last 24 innings spanning back to their series-finale loss on Sunday to the Miami Marlins. 

Suddenly, New York’s brand of offense that is predicated on timely hitting more than power is sputtering. They’re just 2-for-26 in their last three games with runners in scoring position while getting little production from two key spots at designated hitter and catcher this season.

The trio of James McCann, Tomas Nido, and Patrick Mazeika have posted a combined -1.0 WAR in 2022, which ranks 25th in Major League Baseball. McCann, who is in just the second year of a four-year deal, is batting just .179 with a paltry .504 OPS.

Their DH production hasn’t fared much better with a -0.6 WAR that ranks 19th mostly in part to JD Davis’ struggles at the plate. Appearing in a team-leading 34 games as the DH, Davis is slashing just .243/.333/.345 with two home runs and 14 RBI over 148 at-bats. 

All the while, top prospect Alvarez continues to rake in the minors for the Mets’ Double-A affiliate in Binghamton. 

Ranked as MLB’s No. 7 prospect, the 20-year-old is slashing .275/.360/.554 (.914 OPS) with 17 home runs and 45 RBI. Ten of those round-trippers and 24 RBI came in just June alone (24 games).

Such a bat makes him a no-brainer DH option if the team doesn’t want to throw him into the fire of trying to catch a rotation that should feature Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom within the next few weeks — especially for a franchise whose success is still predicated on pitching. 

But Alvarez seems to have passed a significant test on Wednesday night when catching Scherzer in his rehab start in Binghamton — experiencing 80 hurls from the three-time Cy Young Award winner over 4.1 innings.

“[It was] good,” Scherzer said of working with Alvarez. “Just trying to get on the same page as him. I’m blind. I don’t have anything on the hitters. When you don’t have reports on anything, it’s just difficult of knowing which pitch to throw in which sequence and knowing when you’re right, knowing when Alvarez is right. He’s seen these hitters more than I have so he has different thoughts on situations where he thought he was right, I thought I was right.

“That’s the process of throwing to a young kid for the first time. He made some adjustments along the way, worked with me pretty well, so I’m excited to see what he can do.”

If the Mets continue to get little production out of those two spots in the lineup, he should see what Alvarez can do in the majors sooner rather than later.

For more Mets coverage like this Francisco Alvarez piece, visit AMNY.com

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