OAKLAND, Calif. — Francisco Alvarez’s goal in spring training was to reach the major leagues this season.
The Mets’ top prospect has gotten as far as Triple-A Syracuse after a midseason promotion from Double-A Binghamton. With Syracuse’s season set to expire Thursday the question becomes whether Alvarez’s season will necessarily be over.
Team brass appears to have left the door ajar for the 20-year-old catcher to reach the majors.
“If presented with a particular circumstance we have to consider all options at Triple-A,” general manager Billy Eppler said Friday, declining to elaborate further.
Eppler was first asked by Newsday about the viability of Alvarez being promoted.
The Mets have received respectable production in recent weeks from catchers Tomas Nido and James McCann, but Alvarez’s raw power might be worth considering in regards to the postseason roster, as the team has received disappointing results from Darin Ruf, and more recently Mark Vientos, as right-handed DH options.
Alvarez entered Friday with a .226/.358/.452 slash line with nine homers in 41 games for Syracuse. He missed 2 ½ weeks with a loose body in his right ankle, but since returning on Sept. 11 owned a 1.107 OPS for Syracuse.
If Vientos is going to leave an impression on the Mets this season, his best chance might be this weekend.
The rookie slugger started at DH during the Mets’ 9-2 blowout win over the Athletics where he went 2-for-3 with 2 RBIs and a homer, the first of three straight games the Mets were scheduled to face left-handed starting pitchers. Vientos, two weeks into his major league debut, entered in a 1-for-18 rut to begin his Mets career.
“He’s close — I understand it’s a little different for him,” manager Buck Showalter said. “I understand it’s a little different for him, with having to look at a card to see if he’s in there, but that is the way most people break in up here. Very seldom are the waters parted and you are going to sink or swim.
“And obviously where we are as a team we are trying to put our best foot forward every inning, not only every starting lineup.”
Ruf started in right field and was 1-for-4. He entered play with a .404 OPS in 60 plate appearances since he was acquired by the Mets at the trade deadline.
“Darin has got so much ‘want to’ right now,” Showalter said. “He is trying to do something every pitch and sometimes through that you get out of your selectivity a little bit. I expect better things the next three days, if we play him all three days.”
Brandon Nimmo returned to the starting lineup in center field after he left the game Wednesday with strained left quadriceps. Nimmo wasn’t added to the lineup until he tested the leg during pregame drills.
Jeff McNeil spent the day off Thursday with his son, Lucas, who was born in July. It was the first time McNeil was with his son since the All-Star break.
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