Francisco Alvarez Proving Value to Mets in an Underrated Area

The Mets' young catcher has proven his worth in an area that stats have trouble showing.
Jun 11, 2024; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets catcher Francisco Alvarez (4) walks back to the dugout after the top of the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 11, 2024; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets catcher Francisco Alvarez (4) walks back to the dugout after the top of the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Francisco Alvarez has been the best catcher for the New York Mets' pitching staff this season.

His defense behind the plate was critical in the Mets 2-1 win against the San Diego Padres last night at Citi Field. Alvarez's calling of the game has made a huge impact, helping out both starting pitcher Sean Manaea and closer Edwin Diaz.

Alvarez told Manaea to pitch higher in the zone, which helped him pitch five innings of one-run ball with seven strikeouts. Later, Diaz was in a jam in the ninth after giving up a lead off single to Padres outfielder Jurickson Profar, who also stole second and moved to third on a groundout. But after Alvarez went out to visit Diaz. he proceeded to get the game-winning strikeout against infielder Jake Cronenworth.

Diaz spoke with SNY reporter Steve Gelbs about Alvarez's mound visit.

"He came to me and said, "I trust you. You are the guy here," Diaz told Gelbs. "Just get this guy out and that's what we did."

Alvarez will be a part of the Mets young core that looks to turn the corner this season and beyond. His contract of $762,500 is a bargain, and he is under team control for four more seasons.

The numbers also suggest that Mets pitchers do much better with Alvarez behind the plate. The Mets ERA is 2.23 with Alvarez and is 4.73 when he's not back there. The 22-year-old catcher missed nearly two months with a torn ligament in his left thumb, undergoing surgery on April 23 and returning on June 11 against the Miami Marlins. The Mets are 14-6 with Alvarez and 17-31 without him.

Alvarez has one passed ball in 141 innings with a fielding percentage of .982 this season. He has saved one run with his framing in 467 pitches, and his strike rate is .48 percent. There were concerns about his defense when the Mets called him up for his debut in 2022, but he's shown that to be a non-issue. He has nine passed balls and a fielding percentage of .985 in 1,027 career innings from 2022-2024.

Since Alvarez's return on June 11, he has gotten going offensively two RBI in 10-at bats. Last season, he showed a lot of promise at the plate with 25 home runs, 63 RBI, and an OPS of .721 in 382 at-bats.

On Saturday, Alvarez will look to guide Mets left-handed starter Jose Quintana to a victory against the Padres at 4:05 p.m. ET at Citi Field.


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Julian Guilarte

JULIAN GUILARTE

Julian Guilarte is a baseball reporter and podcaster who has covered the Yankees for Latino Sports and Mets for Rising Apple. His work also includes MiLB, college baseball, and international baseball.