Pete Alonso is fixated on a personal journey to find his place as a major league player. Stripping himself from social media is the first step.
Pete Alonso, no matter how you rationalize it, did not have a good year in 2020, and it has little to do with any comparison to the monstrous numbers he put up in 2019.
While we’ll never be able to gauge the impact of a start and stop COVID impacted season in terms of Alonso’s overall production and contribution to a Mets team that disappointed as a whole, suffice to say there was something “off” about Pete Alonso last year.
The home runs (16) and RBI (35) were there, and when projected out to a full 162-game season total 40 and 100 respectively.
However, what seemed to be lacking was the aggressiveness that dominated his “I dare you, throw me your best pitch” rookie season the year before.
Last year, when Pete Alonso swung at the first pitch (Baseball-Reference Splits), he batted .375 with seven home runs in only 32 at-bats.
But as you peruse down the table, you’ll see that Pete Alonso struggled mightily when the count ran overwhelmingly in his favor. For instance, with a 3-0 count, he batted .167 with one home run and .150 with no home runs on a 3-1 count.
This would seem to suggest a disconnect with the strike zone mixed with a loss of self-confidence in brashly attacking the baseball.
Pete Alonso: Striving To Find The Midpoint
Since then, the long cold winter has resonated with an introspective Pete Alonso that’s inherent in a recent self-made observation:
Superman no more – Clark Kent will be just fine.
Almost simultaneously, Pete Alonso took another significant step during the offseason, electing to delete his Twitter account, explaining:
“And I want to spend every second soaking in every single day because every single new day is a blessing.”I’m really happy that last year happened the way it did because I feel like I’m very prepared for this year. Last year exposed a lot of things I needed to get better at. I’m ready to go. I’m ready to have fun and go out there and play.”Deesha Thosar, New York Daily News
Pete Alonso: I’ll Take A Time Out Here – Thank You
While this may seem a bit overdramatic, anyone who owns a social media account, including this writer who answers daily comments on stories I write, time becomes a valuable commodity. When you add exponentially to that for a celebrity like Pete Alonso, well – you get the idea.
So, perhaps that’s why there was a tsunami of relief that swept the Eastern seaboard when Pete Alonso hit a grand-slam home run in an 8-4 win over the Phillies in an exhibition game. (video below)
Despite what some pundits are saying, Pete Alonso is not at a “crossroads” in his career. But he is definitely switching into a new role on a Mets team that is far different than the one he played for in 2019.
That was a Mets team looking for Superman – the hero – and they found it when Pete Alonso strode into the Mets clubhouse fresh from a nationwide TV audience that wallowed in his Home Run Derby victory at the All-Star Game in Cleveland.
In uniform today as a New York Met, Pete Alonso can be – but he doesn’t have to be – the face of the team.
That role automatically shifts to Francisco Lindor, the Mets shortstop of the future and the inheritor of $300 million from Steve Cohen’s vault when a long-term deal is signed.
Others will find reporters at their locker seeking reactions and quotes for their daily stories – players like Michael Conforto, Dominic Smith, Jacob deGrom, and the always quotable and entertaining Marcus Stroman.
Beyond all else, then, 2021 is a transition season for Pete Alonso. Chances are he will never equal or surpass the season he had in 2019 when he leaped upon the stage wearing the blue cape and leaping beyond the boundaries of anyone’s rookie season.
Mets: Finding the Right Role For Pete Alonso
A preliminary projected Mets lineup for 2021 by Bleacher Report seems subject to discussion, however:
With the three-hole normally reserved for a team’s best hitter, Mets manager Luis Rojas might consider flipping Alonso and Dominic Smith, but that can cut two ways.
While pressure is increased batting in the three slot for Pete Alonso, the flip side can be precisely what he needs as the likelihood of demanded concentration also increases as Lindor and Conforto appear on base before him.
In contrast, Rojas may deem it best to decrease the pressure on Alonso by dropping him down in the order to the five-hole where Brandon Nimmo doesn’t belong in this lineup in the first place.
In any case, with all of these scenarios, Pete Alonso is a key ingredient in the Mets’ success in 2021.
Having said that, he will not break the Mets season if things go south. Bigger seasons are projected and relied on from Lindor and Conforto, with a key assist from Jeff McNeil.
Losing those expected performances, no matter what Superman does (as in 2019), the Mets season is doomed to the fate of a .500 team struggling to keep their head above water in a super-competitive National League East race.
Clark Kent, Daily Planet Reporter Is All The Mets Need
For the moment and taking things in stride as the Pre-Season moves forward, a sigh of relief was in order when Pete Alonso centered on a 95 mph fastball in his wheelhouse for a grand-slam home run.
In perspective, recall that last year Pete Alonso failed to hit a single home run in either of the two Spring Training “seasons.”
No big deal – unless that is – you are Pete Alonso striving to find the distance between Superman and Clark Kent as a major league ballplayer with the New York Mets.