Report: MLB's #1 Prospect Could Be Seriously Injured

In what could be a tough loss for the Mets and the game of baseball as a whole, MLB Pipeline’s number one prospect Francisco Alvarez is currently seeking second opinions for a potentially season-ending ankle injury.

The catcher, just 20-years-old, was signed by the Mets as an international amateur free agent in 2018. He is currently the youngest player in Triple-A, with the franchise promoting him aggressively after he displayed exceptional contact and power skills early this year in Double-A, hitting for a .922 OPS and 18 home runs in 67 games before the call-up.

The injury is especially concerning given the fact that Alvarez is a catcher. Lower body injuries can completely derail the development of catching prospects, due to the intense physical demands of the position. To be able to crouch behind the plate for thousands of innings while withstanding foul tips to the body and still having the reflexes to catch pitches, catchers have to be a rare combination of flexible, mobile, and incredibly durable. This is why catching prospects are often the most volatile and difficult to project; it is nearly impossible to predict how a young man or teenager’s body will grow, not to mention, of course, the chance of injury.

Even before the injury, Alvarez’ defensive future was already in question, as his stocky build and mobility issues left scouts divided on whether he would be able to handle the duties of a catcher at the major league level. If worst comes to worst, and surgery is required to address the injury, Alvarez could be pushed from the top of the defensive spectrum to the bottom, becoming a first baseman/designated hitter-only player. This would lower his ceiling significantly, although his excellent hitting skills would still give him the chance to become an impact major leaguer.

For now, Alvarez and the Mets will have to sit and wait for further testing to be completed, hoping for positive news about the young man’s career. 

© Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports