Eighteen-year-old Mets prospect Francisco Alvarez has been named the No. 5 catching prospect in Major League Baseball by MLB Pipeline.
Alvarez, who had an explosive professional debut in 2019 as a 17-year-old after signing with the Mets in July of 2018 for $2.9 million as an international free agent, could be a consensus top 100 prospect in baseball by the middle of this season.
On MLB Pipeline's new top 10 catching prospects list, Alvarez is behind only Adley Rutschman of the Orioles, Joey Bart of the Giants, Sean Murphy of the Athletics, and Luis Campusano of the Padres.
He is ranked ahead of more established catching prospects such as Keibert Ruiz of the Dodgers and Sam Huff of the Rangers, whose names have been thrown around this offseason as potential key pieces in trades for available superstars.
"The Venezuela native is already perhaps the best pure hitter in New York's system, with defensive chops behind the plate that could make him an impactful two-way catcher," MLB Pipeline wrote about Alvarez earlier this offseason.
As a 17-year-old last season, Alvarez hit .312/.407/.510 with seven home runs and 10 doubles in 42 games between the Rookie level Gulf Coast League and Rookie level Kingsport of the Appalachian League.
Alvarez is expected to open the 2020 season with Low-A Columbia. If he continues to shine, there is a chance he could make his Mets debut by 2022. However, the more likely scenario has him debuting in Queens at some point in 2023.