Remember when the Mets’ excuse last season for not bringing Pete Alonso up was because of his defense?
How laughable does that seem now?
Alonso came up with the team for opening day this season, which was the only logical decision that could have been made. Forget the contract status and another year of control. What Alonso has done in his rookie season has been nothing short of remarkable and historic.
Alonso has the chance (if he keeps it up and the Mets keep him around) to establish himself as the best power hitter they've ever had.
Alonso used the offseason and a spring training battle with Dominic Smith to motivate him en route to becoming the team's everyday first baseman. He has gone above and beyond what the Mets could have hoped for. While Alonso was probably ready for the majors last year, it seems the extra time to prepare got him in prime position to be ready both at the dish and in the field. His defense has actually been pretty good. He’s made some highlight-reel plays without really costing the Mets at all in the field.
Every time Alonso steps to the plate, it’s must-watch baseball. Since May 4, he hasn’t gone more than four games without a long ball. He’s essentially homering in every series the Mets play. What has made Alonso’s special rookie campaign even better is that he’s getting clutch homers, doing it late in games. He has had the knack of coming up with the big hit for the Mets, which is hard to find in a kid who just got here. His bombs aren’t just getting over the wall, either -- they are averaging 410 feet.
Alonso is leading all rookies in homers (21), RBIs (46), extra-base hits (35), slugging percentage (.597), OPS (.934) and total bases (139). He's also tops among National League rookies in hits (60) and on-base percentage (.337).
His confidence has been a joy to watch, but he’s also been learning from his mistakes. He takes notes in a notebook after games about the pitch sequences the opposition threw him and how he performed. How often do you see any player on the planet taking notes after every game about what they can do better? It’s hard not to love the 24-year-old slugger.
With the Mets going to the Bronx on Tuesday for a Subway Series doubleheader, they get to show a Yankees team with a few young stars of their own what they have in Alonso. The baseball world is taking notice, and Alonso will likely be in the Home Run Derby next month for everyone to see. This kid could become a regular 40-homer-a-year player. That’s refreshing for a franchise that has lacked power in its 57-year existence. The Mets have also lacked winning, but "Polar Bear" could help get the Mets over the glaciers and into the promised land.