If he hits at an elite level as a competent defensive catcher, Álvarez can be a superstar, one of the best players in the game...
To that end, Mets coaches have worked tirelessly with Álvarez to improve his mobility and athleticism behind the plate. Showalter is eager to have Álvarez link up this spring with new bench coach and catching instructor Glenn Sherlock, who has tutored Jorge Posada, Brad Ausmus, Miguel Montero and many other successful catchers. Piazza might even have a word if he makes his usual spring visit to Port St. Lucie.
"I'm really working on my setup, my stance, where I can be comfortable blocking," Álvarez said. "Now I'm thinking about that and just working to be another catcher in the big leagues for years."
"We really liked (Ziegler's) delivery, he had a lot of athletic movements and he was throwing 95-96 (mph) in the sixth inning when I saw him. He was commanding his fastball.""Had teams more time to scout him—because he was on a screwy type of schedule—I think he got better, which a lot of high school kids do. He gained momentum throughout the spring.""I felt very strongly about taking him in the second round."
The Mets undoubtedly blew it with the Rocker pick. It wasn't because the physical went so poorly that they chose not to sign their first-rounder. The Mets failed to have a backup later in the draft that they could have taken some of that money they saved to sign Rocker to an over-slot deal and had something to show for it. But for all of that, they did pick up some interesting arms, and Calvin Ziegler is one of the most promising.
Joe DeMayo has an excellent "deep dive" on Ziegler, well worth checking out in full. Joe is bullish on the young pitcher and thinks he will benefit from the investments Steve Cohen has made to bring the Mets' development into the modern era:
The Mets have focused on expanding their analytics team to potentially as many as 30 people for the 2022 season, including an analyst being assigned to each minor league affiliate.
With Ziegler's stuff, spin rate, and efficiency and movement profile, I think he will benefit a lot from the analytical presence that will be in place throughout the minor league system this coming season.
While there are a wide range of outcomes with the young, raw right-hander, the Mets believe they drafted a future big league starter in Ziegler.
As heartening as it undoubtedly is that young prospects such as Francisco Álvarez and Calvin Ziegler will get something positive out of this dreary lockout, it is still quite dispiriting that other good prospects are being hurt by this. In The Athletic, Tim Britton offers up a fine piece on Mark Vientos, the Mets' #6 prospect at MLB.com.
And yet right now, in the second week of March when Vientos should be getting a bunch of intriguing reps in Grapefruit League games, when he could be staking a claim to a major-league roster spot as soon as possible, he's waiting. Protracted anticipation has been a theme of the last few years — for Vientos, for the Mets, for all of us."I feel like I'm repeating 2020 in a way," said Vientos, somehow without terror in his voice. "A lot of us baseball players right now, the guys on the 40-man major-league rosters, are losing their minds ready to get out there and go play. … You’ve just got to deal with it."As he suggested, Vientos in particular is in an awkward spot because of the lockout: Promoted to the 40-man roster last November, he's now a part of the union, which means he can't work out at team facilities or play in minor-league games while the lockout is ongoing. So while players like Álvarez and Baty have been at a minor-league camp in Port St. Lucie, Fla., preparing for the start of a minor-league season come the second week of April, Vientos is on his own.He’s been working out in Miami, spending time at the same facility as Giancarlo Stanton, J.D. Martinez and Miguel Cabrera.