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Minor League Mondays: Kevin Parada Tries To Get Going At Binghamton

One of the biggest positives for the big league New York Mets is the emergence of Francisco Alvarez as a franchise catcher. The Mets have been dominant when Alvarez is in the lineup this season and he has formed a strong rapport with the club's pitching staff, setting the organization up with potentially its first long-term answer behind the plate since Mike Piazza left following the 2005 season. Catcher is a physically demanding position so smart teams like to invest a ton of resources into it, like the Mets did a few years ago when they took Kevin Parada as their first pick in the 2022 draft. Parada is the focus of this week's edition of Minor League Mondays.




The Mets took Parada with the 11th overall pick in the 2022 draft and looked dominant as a collegian, dominating at the plate to the tune of a .361 batting average with 26 homers in his draft-eligible season to be a finalist for the Golden Spikes award. Some teams have found success by platooning two catchers in the DH era, notably the Atlanta Braves with Sean Murphy and Travis d'Arnaud, so the long-term hope would be for Alvarez and Parada to become that type of dynamic duo for the Mets.


2023 was a strange year for Parada, who made it to AA by the end of the season but battled a right ankle injury as he hit .248 with 14 home runs and 54 RBI across three levels of the minors. The Mets had Parada go to the Arizona Fall League to get more at-bats and he struggled against weak pitching, which was a concerning sign entering this spring. Parada had high hopes for his season, which you can hear about from his chat with our own Mark Rosenman during spring training.




The Mets assigned Parada to Binghamton again and he has struggled there as well, hitting just .207 with eight home runs and 30 RBI in 227 at bats. The calling card for Parada is his power, which gives him a chance to make the majors as a hit-first catcher, but the team surely expects more contact as well. While Parada's .288 OBP is solid considering his low batting average, it is being dragged down by a .366 slugging percentage, which has seen his OPS dip nearly 100 points year-to-year.



Part of the reason Parada may be struggling so much at the plate is that he is also working hard to improve his defense. Opposing teams ran wild on Parada last season as runners stole 115 bases against him last season, which is an alarmingly high total considering it came in just 59 games behind the plate. While the organization is encouraged by Parada's ability to frame pitches, the Mets will need to see some improvement from him in throwing out base runners, especially with the recent rule changes in favor of base runners.


If the trend there doesn't improve for Parada, his best hope is to become a plus offensive catcher like Piazza was who can handle a staff as well. The shine has come off of Parada, who is currently ranked as the tenth-best prospect in the organization according to MLB.com, and it could lead to some debate within the front office about his future.


New President of Baseball Operations David Stearns didn't draft Parada and could be open to either changing his position or sending him away from the organization outright. The Mets have decent catching depth in the minors, with Ronald Hernandez (who the Mets acquired from the Miami Marlins in the David Robertson trade last summer) behind Parada at Low-A St. Lucie and 17-year old Yovanny Rodriguez, who the organization gave over half their international bonus pool to this year, making his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League.


There is also the possibility the Mets draft another catcher in the 2025 class next week, which would be another strike against Parada's future with the team. Parada will need to show consistent improvement at the plate to make a position change a possibility, but a potential trade can't be ruled out as Stearns has several areas of the roster that need fortification both at the trade deadline and in the future.


It wouldn't make sense for the Mets to move Parada for a rental player, like they did a few summers ago when they sent Pete Crow-Armstrong to the Chicago Cubs for Javier Baez and Trevor Williams, but a player with more team control could make Parada expendable. Another organization could take a chance on Parada's power potential and hope they can develop it better than the Mets, making him a valuable trade chip in the right deal.


Barring that kind of deal becoming available, the odds are good that Parada will spend the rest of the year in Binghamton and work on improving his game in all areas. An offseason trade could certainly be in the cards since more teams will be open to different trade ideas, meaning this second half could well determine not only what position Parada plays but what organization he begins 2025 in.

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