Mets: Pete Alonso is maturing as a hitter

May 15, 2021; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) celebrates hitting a home run during the third inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

With his two home runs on Sunday, New York Mets’ Pete Alonso now has seven long balls for the season, and keeps showing why teams who play the Mets need to be very careful when pitching to him. “Beware the Bear” would be a good message for opposing pitchers.

Heading into Tuesday, Alonso is slashing .276/.333/.500 with the seven homers and 26 RBI in the young season. He is well on his way to surpass 100 RBI for the first time since he was a rookie in 2019. His 143 wRC+ is just shy of his 144 mark that year, when he broke the record for most home runs by a rookie with 53.

The Mets’ slugger has a nice 113 blasts in 400 games for his career, and he is just entering his prime. Things could be promising for him from a totals standpoint.

The Mets have enjoyed not only Alonso’s power, but also an improved approach at the plate. He looks like a more complete hitter, going the other way frequently and taking what pitchers give him.

His .276 batting average is, according to MLB.com, almost 20 points higher than his career .258 mark.

The Mets’ manager raved about the hitter and the person

Here is what Mets manager Buck Showalter has to say about his first baseman: “Sincere,” Buck stated. “Always the same guy every day. Never moody. Really good teammate. Really wants to win. Doesn’t mind working on his weaknesses. He doesn’t look at the media as an enemy. A simple soul, really. Good husband. His nickname is perfect: Polar Bear. I see someone I call country strong. Very respectful, and he ain’t scared, and he likes baseball. A lot.

“He appreciates everything he has, like he can’t believe the money he’s making. And here’s something else that’s especially meaningful to a manager, and to his teammates: He listens.”

Because he listens, he has been able to improve as a hitter.

“Just taking whatever the opposing teams give me. I’ve always been able to go to the big parts of the field. This year it has happened a lot earlier,” Alonso said after the Mets got to 20-10, one of the best records in the National League. “I haven’t seen as many driveable pitches where you want to get big on and hit a double in the gap or go up top, but I just want to stay within myself and just put good quality swings on good pitches. Going to right field is a product of having a plan and not getting too big.”

He may be getting too big… too big of a hitter, a teammate, and a clubhouse guy.