The New York Mets have sent catcher Francisco Alvarez to Triple-A Syracuse, quashing for now the possibility of putting the prized 21-year-old on the Opening Day roster.
Alvarez, who made his major league debut with the Mets near the end of last season, had just three hits in 28 at-bats in Grapefruit League games.
Ranked by ESPN's Kiley McDaniel as the fifth-best prospect in baseball, Alvarez batted .260 with 27 homers and 78 RBIs in a combined 112 minor league games in 2022 at Double-A and Triple-A.
The Mets have newcomer Omar Narvaez, a 2021 All-Star with the Milwaukee Brewers, as their primary catcher, with Tomas Nido likely to play mostly against left-handed pitchers.
Mets manager Buck Showalter told SNY that he wouldn't be surprised if Alvarez spent most of the season in the minors and praised the Narvaez-Nido tandem.
"[Alvarez] has got a chance to be called up in September," Showalter told SNY. "Anything else I said would be promoting the failure or the health of one of the guys that we have. And we like our two guys. They're in the top seven or eight of catching in baseball. We're lucky to have both of them. I hope at some point Francisco is as good as they are."
Alvarez also struggled at the plate during spring training, going just 3-for-28 in 14 games.
"Defensively and catching, he was real impressive," Showalter told reporters, according to the New York Post. "He's grown and shown us that he's going to be able to do that. I really like watching the interaction between innings and in the bullpen and understanding some of the [pitch calling] and being able to follow a scouting report."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.