Who is Francisco Álvarez, the New York Mets’ 20-year-old hitting prodigy
As the Mets battle for the NL East comes down to the wire, they bring up the top prospect in baseball to give their batting order some juice
The Mets have been great all season. They have had a solid pitching rotation and have done the seemingly impossible in getting their fans excited about their post season prospects. Despite mid-season worries that they were perhaps not quite living up to their potential, they have managed to stay a step ahead of the Atlanta Braves in the AL East, and that is no mean feat.
If a criticism can be levelled at them, however, it would be that their batting order, as solid as it is, has lacked that special pop, that extra push that is needed in the DH position. Going through Robinson Canó, Dominic Smith, J.D. Davis, Daniel Vogelbach and Darin Ruf through the summer, they have only managed a pitiful mid-table ranking in OPS in the DH spot.
Now, they have pulled what they hope will be an ace out of their sleeve by calling up the top-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline, in the form of 20-year-old Francisco Álvarez.
Through the summer, Álvarez was the youngest player in triple-A and managed to wallop 27 home runs and post a .260/.374/.511 slash line over 112 games.
The young Venezuelan is prodigiously talented and single minded in what he is after. His mother calls him mi toro and his bullish pursuit of the big leagues has paid off with his meteoric rise through the Mets organization over the last few years.
As a 16 year old, he was seen as the top amateur prospect in the world and the Mets signed him to a $2.7 million deal, the biggest ever paid to an international prospect.
Coming into the Show in the middle of a red-hot pennant race, you might forgive Álvarez for being nervous. But he shows not a sign of it, saying, “I’ve never believed in being afraid, ever, or of being nervous. I believe in trying to do things correctly.”
That is just the sort of attitude that the Mets could use right about now. A young boy who left school at 11 years old to pursue baseball as a full-time career, and makes it a point to always be the first one on the field or in the gym, usually starting well before 6 a.m. has now matured into a young man who is on the cusp of everything that he has ever wanted.
If the Mets win this pennant race and get through the post season, young Francisco Álvarez wants to make sure that he plays some part in that run. And the Mets would love for him to do just that.