Mets first-baseman Pete Alonso will forever live and be gratified by his 2019 season. But who is he, and how much can the Mets count on him…
For both the Mets and Pete Alonso, 2019 was a magical season giving hope that change was on the way for a wayward franchise, even before the team was put up for sale.
A new look in the Mets clubhouse emerged when Pete Alonso, escorted by Jeff McNeill, walked into the Mets clubhouse following Alonso’s win in Cleveland in the All-Star Game Home Run Derby.
Swashbuckling – no, that wasn’t it. But we saw something different in the Mets from that point forward as Alonso became the face of the Mets, henceforward.
For the most part, Pete Alonso has handled the media pressure accompanying the tag extremely well off the field, choosing, for example, to limit his exposure and participation in time-intensive social media.
But it’s on the field where any big league ballplayer will always be measured, and soon it may be necessary for the Mets and their fans to reckon with the fact that Pete Alonso is not Superman.
Mets: Pete Alonso vs. Superman
Beyond that, though, the true test will come when Pete Alonso recognizes the same – and therein lies the wrestling match between the Mets and Alonso.
Pete Alonso has already declared himself to be “all in” for the 2021 Home Run Derby, telling MLB.com, “I’m all in,” Alonso said. “I’m ready. If I get invited, I’d love to do it. I’d love to defend my title.”
Of course, he would, and in all probability, he will be in Denver to do exactly that.
But here’s the kicker, and it all depends on what the Mets need and are looking for from Pete Alonso.
At Alonso’s present production rate, he will hit 46 home runs, assuming he appears in all 162 games of the Mets season. Fewer games played, and the total shrinks proportionately.
But that will also be accompanied by a batting average around .230-.240 with an on-base percentage of around .300 and a career average of one strikeout for every four plate appearances.
Mets: Cultivating A Prodigious Talent
Now, before you think this is a beat-up on Pete Alonso rant – it’s not.
Instead, it’s a reckoning the Mets need to deal with when constructing a lineup and what they can (realistically) expect from him over the years in terms of production.
Will Pete Alonso develop into a player who consistently reaches a .280 batting average, with 90 or more runs scored and driven in, while leading (or close to leading) the Mets when he’s batting with runners in scoring position?
Will he be instep with Mike Trout, Francisco Lindor, Mookie Betts, et al. – the elite players of our time – or will he fall into the category of Nicholas Castellanos, Jonathan Schoop, and Joey Gallo – swinging for the fences regardless of game situations?
Pete Alonso wants to win, and he’s made that clear on several occasions. During Spring Training, for instance, Alonso told the New York Daily News, “The attention to details and going out and competing for our asses off and going out there and wanting to win and doing anything possible for a win, for us, that’s the goal.”
Mets And Pete Alonso: What’s Next?
The question becomes, where is the “attention to detail” in Pete Alonso’s games, other than seeking the fat part of his bat on every pitch thrown to him?
To put it another way, does Pete Alonso want to be a complete ballplayer in this league or just another guy who is blessed with the strength to hit a ball 450 ft. or so – every once in a while?
Either way, as a fan of the Mets, I’ll take him, happy he’s on our side. But at the same time, I can’t help thinking if there can be more from Pete Alonso – if only he didn’t have visions of stars in the Denver sky this July…