Pete Alonso‘s rookie season for the New York Mets was nearly impossible to duplicate. He hit 53 home runs, won the home run derby and rookie of the year. The combination of tough luck and lack of plate discipline caused him to underachieve during the 2020 season.
Pete Alonso with a multi-homer game in the Mets' finale. He will likely finish this year with 16 home runs, which is a 43-homer pace over 162 games.
Alonso is batting .526 during a six-game hitting streak to end the season, providing some optimism heading into the winter.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) September 27, 2020
Alonso struggled mightily during the first third of the season, only batting .197. Though he walked at a good rate, he only had two home runs through the season’s first 18 games. His defense also suffered from it, which caused him to see more time at designated hitter.
The following 20 games were filled with inconsistency. At times, it looked like he was becoming the 2019 Alonso, and during others, he looked completely lost. Over his next 20 games, he hit six home runs but only batted .222. Part of his unlucky season comes from a .204 BABIP, where he would have line drives sucked up by the shift.
Return to Form
Alonso’s struggles came from him over swinging, overthinking, and swinging outside of his strike zone. The over swinging came from him trying to replicate his home run output. His strength is at the top of the league, and using his natural swing will allow him to access his full field power.
The overthinking came during at-bats where he would let fastballs in the zone go by then chase offspeed pitches outside of the zone to strikeout. It also led to him spending the year around the .200 mark with runners in scoring position. Lastly, he spent a lot of time chasing pitches up in the zone that he cannot hit. Alonso only had a slugging percentage of .167 on pitches up and in for a strike and .200 on pitches up and away for a strike.
In five of the other seven squares in the strike zone, he slugged over .500. The adjustments showed over the final 19 games where slashed .271/.338/.657 with eight home runs. While the walk rate dropped, the strikeouts did as well since he was making solid contact. Should this have been a longer season, we would have seen his numbers improve to where the slump would be a forgotten part of the season.
While his defense took a step back during his sophomore slump, expect it to return to where it was in 2019. If there is a designated hitter in 2021, Alonso will play first less due to Smith’s emergence. He finished the season on a six-game hitting streak and looked like the complete hitter he was during his amazing rookie season. There were worries early in the 60-game sprint, but there is no reason to doubt a big season from Alonso in 2021.
2020 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2021 Projection)
Hitting: 35 (55), Having Chili Davis back in the locker room will make a big difference
Power: 80 (80), Still one of the best in the power department. Still finished tied for third in the NL, despite the struggles.
Run: 30 (30), Very good baserunning instincts for a player who lacks speed
Arm: 50 (50)
Field: 30 (40), The hard worker Alonso is will definitely show the stepback on defense was a fluke
Overall: 55 (70), Expect nothing short of greatness in 2021