QUEENS — Francisco Alvarez’s call-up to the Mets came much earlier than expected, but the team’s No. 1 prospect and No. 3 overall ranked prospect in all of baseball will have another opportunity to prove he can stick around the big leagues for a while.
Even if it was out of more necessity than anything after Omar Narvaez went down with a calf injury that will keep him shelved for roughly eight-to-nine weeks.
“He was already on the 40-man roster,” Mets manager Buck Showalter chimed when asked what went into the decision of promoting the 21-year-old up to the big club ahead of their home opener on Friday against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field.
Regardless, the power-hitting backstop — now wearing No. 4 rather than No. 50 — can build on his limited MLB experience, which featured just 12 at-bats late last season in which he recorded two hits (a double and a home run).
He simply won’t be handed the keys to the starting catching job with Narvaez out, though. Tomas Nido got the start behind the plate for the Mets’ home opener on Friday and is projected to get a bulk of the starts.
Such is the continuing reality of Alvarez’s path to a stay in the majors. General manager Billy Eppler implored that he would not get that MLB promotion from Triple-A Syracuse in 2023 until the “complete package” was ready. Showalter himself didn’t lend much suggestion that he’ll get a lot of playing time out of the gate in Queens.
“We’ll see how it evolves,” Showalter said. “We’re lucky to have a guy like Tomas who we’re very comfortable with. We’ll see how it evolves. It’ll be a day-to-day thing with the needs of the club… but he certainly will get some playing time.”
Alvarez himself said that he hadn’t had any conversations with Showalter or the Mets’ brass about how he’ll be utilized.
“I’m here to do whatever the team needs me to do,” Alvarez said through a translator. “Just concentrate and focus on what I do on an everyday basis. The most important thing is to win out here.”
Any thought of him potentially getting at-bats as a designated hitter seemed to have been shut down by the New York skipper.
“I’ll look at it each day,” Showalter said. “I don’t see that happening, but it might.”