5 more young MLB stars who should follow in Bobby Witt Jr.'s footsteps

The Kansas City Royals locked up their 23-year-old phenom by signing him to a massive contract yesterday. What other teams should follow suit with their young stars?

Gunnar Henderson is just one of the game's young stars that deserve a long-term contract
Gunnar Henderson is just one of the game's young stars that deserve a long-term contract / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages
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New York Mets catcher Francisco Alvarez

The New York Mets currently find themselves in a tenuous contract standoff with power-hitting first baseman Pete Alonso. Speculation has run rampant on whether the Mets will extend the Polar Bear or look to trade him, but I think that if you injected Mets owner Steve Cohen with truth serum, he'd admit that he wishes he locked Alonso up well before it got to this point.

Cohen and new president of baseball operations David Stearns have the opportunity to learn from their past mistakes with Francisco Alvarez. The 22-year-old was one of the youngest players in the majors last year, and he immediately made his impact with the Mets after being called up just over a week into the season.

Alvarez showed why he was one of the top-rated prospects in baseball by immediately seizing the starting catching job and never letting go. Omar Narvaez, whom the Mets signed to be their starting backstop last offseason, was relegated to a backup role, while Tomas Nido was designated for assignment in June.

Alvarez has power that you just can't teach. His 25 home runs were second in the majors among catchers, behind only Cal Raleigh of the Mariners, and he's second only to the immortal Johnny Bench in home runs hit by a catcher before their 22nd birthday. Beyond that, Alvarez's defense has been surprisingly outstanding. He ranked as one of the best pitch framers in baseball, a rare skill for a player so young.

This offseason has shown that even though Steve Cohen has more money than any other owner in baseball, that isn't always enough to get what he wants, as the Mets fell short in their pursuit of Yoshinobu Yamamoto. There will be other free agents in the coming years that Cohen can try to woo to Flushing, but in the meantime, he'd be wise to lock up one of the most exciting young players to wear blue and orange in some time.