ATLANTA — Can baseball’s No. 1 prospect play his manner from the minors to the Mets’ playoff roster within the closing week of the season?
“Sure, clearly,” Francisco Alvarez mentioned in Spanish earlier than his main league debut.
The assured Friday call-up is not going to have a lot time, particularly as a result of Max Fried, whom he confronted Friday, might need been the final opposing lefty starter the Mets see within the common season.
Known as upon due to his highly effective righty bat after the Mets positioned Darin Ruf on the IL with a neck pressure, Alvarez, the hyped, 20-year-old catcher of the long run, went 0-for-4 within the Mets’ series-opening, 5-2 loss to the Braves at Truist Park on Friday night time.
Twice Alvarez took such mighty hacks he flung his bat behind him, the second of which was his closing swing of the sport. The Mets loaded the bases within the ninth inning towards Atlanta nearer Kenley Jansen. Alvarez, who represented the go-ahead run, swung exhausting 3 times and struck out.
“It’s tremendous uncommon that that occurs,” Alvarez mentioned concerning the bat-flings via translator Alan Suriel. “This entire season it solely occurred one different time.”
This entire season, he had not seen main league pitching. The designated hitter appeared swing-happy in his first style of the massive leagues, swinging on the first pitch he noticed and grounding right into a double play within the second inning. He added one other floor out and a fly out earlier than his ninth-inning strikeout towards Jansen.
“Clearly, there’s loads of work to be accomplished,” Alvarez mentioned, “however I really feel like I belong right here.”
It’s outstanding that Alvarez is right here. His minor league season had completed Wednesday, so he, his mother and father and a pal packed up a automobile and drove from Syracuse to Miami, the place he has household.
On Thursday night time — on the highway about 13 hours away from central New York, in Greenville, S.C. — his cellphone buzzed. Farm director Kevin Howard was on the opposite line to ship the information the 20-year-old had waited 20 years to obtain.
There have been tears and hugs and pleasure and shock — however solely to an extent. The younger slugger at all times has felt he’s prepared for the massive leagues.
“I at all times had the hope that I might get referred to as up,” Alvarez mentioned. “As a result of I knew that I might come up and assist the workforce win.
“I by no means misplaced hope.”
He doesn’t lack confidence, however the query shall be whether or not he lacks sufficient possibilities.
The Mets will face two extra righty starters towards the Braves — with Daniel Vogelbach prone to begin at DH — earlier than ending the common season at dwelling towards the Nationals. Washington is anticipated to pitch Patrick Corbin — its solely lefty starter — Sunday, a day earlier than the sequence with the Mets begins.
Alvarez’s finest likelihood could be to hit so properly in restricted alternatives towards lefties — his wholesome competitors is Mark Vientos, who has gone 4-for-29 to start his profession — that he turns into an possibility towards righties. Can the Mets see sufficient from Alvarez, who posted an .885 OPS with 27 dwelling runs in 112 minor league video games this season, to get a great learn on how a lot he might help?
“No,” supervisor Buck Showalter mentioned. However, “he has potential to assist us. We’ll see.”
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