PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The Mets arrived at spring training with championship aspirations, but their youth is also being served early in camp.
Catcher Francisco Alvarez, the organization’s No. 2 prospect per MLB.com, is among the top talents taking in his first big-league camp, using the experience to watch and learn from James McCann.
“We haven’t been able to talk much, just because he’s been trying to learn all these new pitchers that are here,” Alvarez said through an interpreter Sunday. “But I have learned a lot just from watching him and how he prepares himself and goes about his routine.”
The 19-year-old Alvarez, who is rated the No. 48 overall prospect by MLB.com and Baseball America, said his focus is currently on improving his defense after hitting .312 with a .916 OPS in his first pro season of rookie ball in 2019.
One of the best offensive seasons of Albert Almora Jr.’s MLB career came with Chili Davis as his hitting coach. The Mets’ new outfielder is hoping their reunion can pay dividends this year.
“He kind of knows my swing, and he knows the adjustments I’ve been making this offseason, so I’m super excited,” Almora said.
With Davis and the Cubs in 2018, Almora hit .286 with a .701 OPS across 152 games. In 158 games since over the past two seasons — with Davis having left for Queens — Almora hit .230 with a .636 OPS.
But the 26-year-old is best known for his defensive ability, offering the Mets more depth in center field along with Brandon Nimmo and Kevin Pillar. Almora, who won a World Series with the Cubs in 2016, said he was also hoping to chip in from a leadership perspective.
Sam McWilliams, the intriguing right-hander who the Mets signed to a major league deal despite having no major league experience, has added a curveball to his repertoire to go with a slider and a fastball that has been hitting around 95 mph early in camp.
“The curveball I actually was messing around with in my first bullpen this winter,” said McWilliams, who got on teams’ radars with his performance at the Rays’ alternate site last year. “I really just took my slider grip and put a little baby spike on it. I threw it a couple times, it felt really good coming out of my hand.”
The Mets added RHP J.T. Ginn, their 2020 second-round pick who underwent Tommy John surgery last spring, to their spring training roster. … Veteran catcher Caleb Joseph, who signed a minor league contract with the Mets on Thursday, participated in his first day of workouts Sunday.