The Mets Pete Alonso is, without question, one of baseball’s premier power hitters. But his soul wants more, and that could be a problem.
Mets first baseman Pete Alonso has been garnering plenty of attention through 20 games of the 2023 season for his power offense, but Mets manager Buck Showalter would like his first baseman to get a little more attention for what he’s been doing defensively.
In comments made to the New York Daily News on Saturday, Showalter noted, “The thing that’s caught my eye is how good he’s moving at first base. “I think he physically wore on him a little bit last year. And he went into the offseason trying to gain another advantage.”
During the offseason, Pete Alonso tried to trim down weightwise, and the results are evident by his work at first base for the Mets and baserunning.
“I feel like I’m more of a complete player,” Alonso said earlier this week in San Francisco. “I feel like I’m playing really well on both sides of the ball offensively and defensively, and I feel like I’m running the bases well.”
Mets See The Improvements In Alonso
With ten home runs and 23 RBI three weeks into the season on a Mets team scavenging for runs, Pete Alonso, together with emerging all-star Brandon Nimmo, is forging the offensive impetus needed, and for all practical purposes more than earning his keep with his team.
But Pete Alonso wants more than that. He wants to be a complete ballplayer and doesn’t skimp on the hard work required to achieve that goal.
Pete Alonso does not possess natural baseball skills and talents except for his swing power, a la Ken Griffey Jr. or Mike Trout. Often, he appears awkward and geeky. His actions on and off-the-field support a big kid playing a child’s game and having fun doing it.
But inwardly, there appears to be a burning desire in the soul of Pete Alonso to be the driving force behind the Mets’ success in all aspects of what it means to be a professional ballplayer.
That includes plugging a big hole in his at-bats to date, characterized by expanding the strike zone and a lack of discipline at the plate.
Alonso explains: “I’m in complete control of when I swing the bat,” he said. “If they make a high-quality pitch on the corner, most of the time, I’m not going to do anything with it. Most of the time, I’ve been unable to swing at those pitches, and I feel like my chase has been consistently down throughout the first three weeks or so.”
Alonso’s Exuberance: A Quandary For the Mets
As Buck Showalter indicated before, this level of intensity can wear a player down throughout baseball’s six-month season, and maybe the Mets would prefer to take the home runs and RBI, leaving it at that.
But if that’s the case, how do the Mets contain the tiger in Pete Alonso, and should they even try?
Alonso is undoubtedly well aware of the tiger that resides across the Triboro Bridge in the Bronx…Aaron Judge, who, as much as anyone, is already a complete ballplayer who moves back and forth between right and center field with ease and excellence in the field.
Alonso has seen the financial reward of doing so with the handsome contract given to Judge over the winter, followed by Judge’s being named team captain of the Yankees, a status that Pete Alonso not so secretly aims for with the Mets.
Hence, Buck Showalter’s job is to find and maintain a happy medium between Alonso’s work ethic and vitality to be a five-tool ballplayer by tempering Alonso’s expended energy during the season, saving enough for the NL Playoffs.
This may and should include the Mets dissuading Alonso from competing in this year’s Home Run Derby during the All-Star break in July.
Likely, Pete Alonso will not like sitting or DH’ing once a week, but it’s up to Showalter to convince him that this is not a sprint; it’s a marathon – and we need you (Pete) later as much as now.