Kevin Parada eager to learn in first Mets camp
Kevin Parada gives Mets system more quality catching depth
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Kevin Parada flashes his ready smile and sheepishly laughs while conceding that he’s not old enough to remember Mike Piazza playing for the Mets. He was born 10 months after the greatest slugging catcher in baseball history led the Mets to the 2000 World Series.
Parada was only four years old when Piazza finished his glorious eight-year stint with the Mets, and only six when Piazza retired after 16 seasons. Growing up in the Los Angeles area, he was an Angels fan who considered Mike Trout his favorite.
With Hall of Famers Gary Carter and Piazza, though, the Mets have had a strong history of elite catchers over the franchise’s 61 seasons. Parada, 21, knows that much. But the Mets perhaps have never had as many elite catching prospects at the same time as they do now.
Kevin Parada is one of two elite Mets catching prospects
Parada, the first catcher taken in the 2022 draft, is the No. 3 ranked catching prospect in baseball. He is in camp with fellow 21-year-old Francisco Alvarez, a Venezuelan considered the top overall prospect in baseball.
“We challenge each other every day to become better,” Parada said. “Having more talent and more guys of quality major league talent it allows us to get better and challenge each other.”
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Although Alvarez was already at the Futures Games as one of the best prospects in baseball, the Mets picked Parada with the No. 11 selection in the 2022 draft last July out of Georgia Tech.
Stellar career at Georgia Tech
He hit .361 with 26 home runs and 88 RBIs last season at Georgia Tech. He doubled his production after hitting .318 with nine home runs and 42 RBIs the year before. Then he hit .275 with a homer and eight RBIs over 13 games between the Florida Complex Rookie League and the St. Lucie Mets during his first cameo in pro baseball.
He’s a non-roster invitee to camp this spring. Parada is likely two years away from the majors. He has time to refine his defense. For now, he’s eager to learn from the veterans and even from Alvarez, who made his big league debut last season.
“The biggest expectation is just to learn,” he said. “This is my first time being here. We got guys with plenty of experience in the big leagues, and I just want to learn from them.”
Alvarez is more of a slugging catcher like Piazza. Parada is considered more of a pure hitter, but he clearly has power potential. He can focus on setting the foundation for his professional career at his first spring training camp.
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