Mets’ No. 1 prospect returns with a bang

Álvarez has 4 hits on Opening Day for St. Lucie

May 5th, 2021
Francisco Álvarez last played for Rookie-level Kingsport in 2019.Tracy Proffitt/Four Seam Images

Francisco Álvarez hadn’t been on the field in a competitive Minor League game since Aug 27, 2019. He played on Tuesday like he was making up for the lost time.

The top Mets prospect and baseball’s No. 40 overall went a career-best 4-for-5 with a double and added a walk to reach base five times in his team’s season opener as Low-A St. Lucie routed visiting Jupiter on Opening Night, 13-3.

Batting out of the third spot in St. Lucie’s order behind Mets No. 5 prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong and No. 15 Shervyen Newton, Álvarez started his evening with a two-out infield single to third base in the bottom of the first. Two innings later, the catcher got his team on the board. After Crow-Armstrong walked to lead off the third and Newton singled to right to put runners at the corners, Álvarez singled through the left side to drive in St. Lucie’s first run of the season.

Following a fourth-inning walk, Álvarez flew out to left field in the sixth inning, his only time not reaching base on the night.

In the seventh, the 19-year-old reached on another infield single to third base, deflected by Jupiter pitcher Justin Evans, to help spark a six-run frame that put the game out of reach.

Álvarez saved his loudest contact of the night for last. In the eighth, with St. Lucie already leading by 10 runs, Álvarez smoked a double to left field at 108.7 mph according to Statcast data, plating Cole Kleszcz with the Mets’ final run.

Tuesday’s showing was Álvarez’s first career game with more than three hits, a mark he last reached on Aug. 3, 2019 with the then-Rookie-level Kingsport Mets.

Every member of St. Lucie’s starting lineup had at least one hit and at least one run scored with Crow-Armstrong and Newton each among the six total multi-hit Mets performers in an 18-hit display.

St. Lucie wasn’t the only Mets roster putting together an impressive offensive night. One step up the organizational ladder, High-A Brooklyn -- one of the Minors’ most talented teams to begin the year -- beat Asheville, 8-2. New York’s No. 2 prospect Ronny Mauricio went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles, a walk and two runs scored while Mets No. 4 Brett Baty went 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs.