Minor League Mondays: Kevin Parada slugs first minor league home run

Parada
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The minor league season is starting to come to an end and with it most of the playing time for the New York Mets’ top prospects. Two of the Mets’ affiliates made the playoffs, including Low-A St. Lucie, which should allow some members of the team’s stellar 2022 draft class to get more development. The headliner of the bunch is catcher Kevin Parada, who is the focus of this week’s edition of Minor League Mondays.

The Mets were thrilled to be able to land Parada with the 11th pick in the draft out of Georgia Tech. The consensus top catcher in this year’s draft class, Parada was a finalist for the Golden Spikes award this year, an honor that goes to the nation’s top collegiate hitter. Scouts love Parada’s offensive potential, which he displayed by hitting .361 with 26 homers in 60 games for the Yellow Jackets this season, but Parada’s defense will need some work to get to major-league caliber.

Parada signed his initial contract and was assigned to the Gulf Coast League for three games before getting bumped up to St. Lucie. The Mets have seen Parada play 10 games for St. Lucie and hit .276 while drawing 10 walks and hitting his first professional home run on Sunday. Parada has also driven in five runs and scored five runs in his first 29 plate appearances while compiling an .877 OPS for St. Lucie.

Despite the presence of Francisco Alvarez as a potential catcher of the future, Parada made a ton of sense for the Mets to help bolster their depth up the middle in their farm system. MLB.com has already rated Parada as the organization’s third-best prospect, trailing only Alvarez and Brett Baty, who was recalled to the majors last month after tearing up AA and AAA.

The good news for Parada is that Alvarez’s presence means the Mets don’t have to rush him to the majors, instead allowing him time at each level of the minors to develop his defense along with getting at-bats against quality minor league arms. Parada will likely begin 2022 with St. Lucie and spend part of his season with them before ending up in Brooklyn with the Cyclones, the Mets’ High-A affiliate. Expect Parada to be contending for big league playing time during the 2025 season, which would present an interesting conundrum for the Mets to work around if Alvarez lives up to his potential.

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