Mets: Pete Alonso is maturing as a hitter

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.

Mets: Pete Alonso hopes to build off last season’s improvements at the plate

mets, pete alonso

The 2021 season was a positive one for New York Mets’ slugger Pete Alonso. He didn’t quite hit 53 home runs as he did in his rookie year (2019), but he made some strides at the plate that guarantee he is on an upward trend.

During that 2019 season, Alonso slashed .260/.358/.583 with a 144 wRC+. His performance fell off a little in the shortened 2020 campaign, as he hit .231/.326/.490 with a 120 wRC+, but he regained form and posted a .262/.344/.519 with a 133 wRC+ last year.

The Mets’ slugger won’t win a batting title, but it’s nice to know he is a little less vulnerable as a hitter now. In 2021, he posted career-bests in swinging-strike rate at 11.4 percent, contact rate at 76.7 percent, zone contact (86.4%), and zone swing (71.3%).

The Mets will take his improved approach

These plate discipline improvements allowed Alonso to cut his strikeout rate by more than five points: he went from posting a 26.4% mark in 2019 and a 25.5% one in 2020 to a 19.9% strikeout rare in 2021.

The Mets are happy to see Alonso making strides offensively. They are also happy that his BB/K (walks per strikeout) went from 0.39 in both 2019 and 2020 to 0.47 in 2021. He is now more disciplined, and that allowed him to increase his batting average floor.

Alonso is more than a one-dimensional slugger, since he is adept to taking walks at a high rate (9.9% in his career) and is not a “homer or nothing” kind of hitter. He may never hit 53 home runs again, but he should approach or surpass 40 every year during his prime, and that’s something the Mets are surely happy about. After all, having a legit middle-of-the-order bat is very valuable.

He will try to keep the gains he made at the plate during the 2022 season. The Mets need his potent bat in the middle of their lineup to produce runs, and he will likely deliver.

2021 New York Mets Player Evaluations: First Baseman Pete Alonso

mets, pete alonso

In a year where the New York Mets offense completely abandoned the team, Pete Alonso was the one player who kept chugging along in the middle of the order. Alonso’s power made up just under 20% of the Mets home run total for the entire 2021 season.

Alonso came off a disappointing 2020 season where his average took a dramatic dip. He was more consistent with his average during the first half of the season, but his average still was not at his level of expectations. The same could be said for his power numbers. Alonso had a .477 slugging percentage at the All-Star break with 17 homers and 49 runs batted in. Those numbers would be terrific for most players, but Alonso’s rookie season set the bar high, and Alonso did not make the All-Star team.

His improved pitch recognition helped lower his strikeout rate to below 20%, making him even more of a dangerous hitter. Despite not playing in the ASG, Alonso traveled to Coors Field to defend his Home Run Derby crown. Like Steph Curry in the three-point contest, Alonso made the derby look easy and won his second crown. Competing in the derby also allowed him to rekindle his power stroke for the second half of the season.

Lone Brightspot

Alonso ended up carrying his derby dominance into the second half and played at an all-star level. He slashed .275/.361/.560 with 20 home runs and even found a way to hit three triples. Alonso finished the year with 27 doubles, three triples, and 37 home runs. His slash line was on par with his rookie season and only struck out 127 times in 152 games. Alonso turned into a matured hitter this season and showed he is way more than a one-dimensional power threat.

His baseball savant page is one to be in awe of as he sits at the top of plenty of categories. His average exit velocity (80th percentile), hard-hit rate (81st percentile), and barrel rate (89th percentile) all contributed to his successful season. One of the biggest reasons for the turnaround was Alonso’s ability to hit breaking balls. In 2020, Alonso batted .191 and slugged .397 compared to a much more respectable .223 and .549 this season.

The one point of emphasis for Alonso’s offseason is leveling off his swing to avoid being weak on high strikes. Becoming a consistent hitter on pitches up will allow his average to creep closer to .300. Pitching Alonso up in the zone was a high-risk, high-reward move. His average across the top quadrants were .273 (inside), .706 (middle), and .429 (outside), showing you had to get the ball inside to beat him. On the flip side, his whiff rate hovered around 30% in all three spots.

Respectable Defense

The biggest knock on Alonso was his defense, but those questions have become irrelevant. For the first time in his career, Alonso posted a positive (2) outs above average and his defensive runs saved of five was a career-high. The one spot of improvement will come in his ability to make better decision-making on balls to his right. Alonso would often drift for balls better suited for the second baseman, making a play harder than it seems. His OAA of -6 on balls toward third base and four on balls towards first base show the vast difference in his range.

2022 will be a massive year for Alonso as the Mets need him to continue leading this offense loaded with questions marks. The progressions over the last three seasons should set expectations towards another 40 home run season. Surrounding Alonso with at least one more power bat can help his cause towards another 50 home run season.

2021 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2022 Projection)

Hitting: 55 (60), .270 xBA was the highest of his career.

Power: 75 (80), 37 homers were third in the NL.

Run: 25 (25), Sprint speed has decreased every year but hit three triples this season.

Arm: 50 (50), Only three throwing errors, and he started four double plays.

Field: 40 (50), Alonso has become a solid defensive first baseman; look for that to continue to improve.

Overall: 65 (70), Betting on Alonso to win MVP in 2022 is a long shot but not a bad bet.

Alonso Powers Mets To A 9-4 Victory Over Marlins

New York Mets, Pete Alonso

Every game for the New York Mets is a must-win at this point in the season, and their offense is starting to find its way at the right time. A two-homer game from Pete Alonso began and ended the Mets’ offensive output in their 9-4 win over the Miami Marlins.

Alonso’s first home run gave the Mets an early 2-0 lead, and it was the 100th of his career. His chase to 100 is the second-fastest of all-time behind the mercurial Ryan Howard. The rest of the team found creative ways to get their third and fourth runs as two hit-by-pitches allowed them to tack runs against Eduardo Cabrera. At one point, the Mets had four runs but just one hit in the entire game. Francisco Lindor added more with a two-run single and J.D. Davis had a pinch-hit RBI double.

The Mets pulled off the rare feat of scoring nine runs but needing six runs to get them. It was a weird night for both teams, who each committed three errors and combined to go 3-for-22 with runners in scoring position. Carlos Carrasco once again allowed a first-inning run but managed to battle through the errors behind him. Carrasco pitched five innings, allowing four runs (one earned), and did enough to give the Mets a chance to win. The Mets bullpen picked up the rest with four shutout innings to nurse the game to its conclusion.

The Mets did not gain any ground on the first-place Atlanta Braves, who defeated the Washington Nationals. They did gain on the second-place Philadelphia Phillies and have an opportunity to gain on the San Diego Padres for the second wild-card spot. On Wednesday, Rich Hill will take the mound against Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara. The first pitch is another early 6:40 p.m. ET start from LoanDepot Park.

Rojas Mismanages Pitching Staff and Mets Hit Into Five DPs in 3-2 Loss

edwin diaz, mets

Absolutely nothing has come easy for the New York Mets over the last two weeks against the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers. When things finally did for them, manager Luis Rojas found a way to complicate things once again. The Mets offense also continued their season-long woes by hitting five double plays in the 3-2 loss.

Taijuan Walker cruised through the first six innings of the game, allowing just one hit and run on a Kris Bryant home run. After the Mets gave Walker a lead for the seventh, an error and bloop single set up runners at first and second. Despite having 74 pitches and showing no signs of fatigue, Rojas turned to Aaron Loup, and it backfired instantly. Brandon Crawford jumped all over the first pitch for a double and gave the Giants a 3-2 lead.

Rojas Losing His Touch

The issue is not who Rojas turned to but when he turned to Loup. Walker felt like this was his game to lose and certainly pitched well enough to deserve the opportunity to work out of the mess. This season, Loup has been the Mets’ best reliever, and the move is probably overlooked if he does not have a rare rough outing. He was the right reliever to turn to, but it was definitely the wrong time to pull Walker. The aftermath was visible frustration from Walker on the mound and in the dugout along with “Fire Rojas”.

The Mets had some life in a very bizarre ninth inning, including Brandon Belt dropping a pop-up in foul territory and the Giants’ miscommunication in the outfield leading to a dropped fly ball. It led to runners on first and second with Francisco Lindor at the plate, but he popped up for the second out of the inning. Brandon Nimmo worked a gutsy walk to set up a bases-loaded situation for Pete Alonso. Unfortunately, the disappointment continued as Alonso blooped a fastball into Tommy La Stella‘s glove to end the game.

The offense actually had two hits in seven chances with runners in scoring position, but the five double plays killed the Mets scoring chances. Rojas decision was the exact type of panic move we saw him make last season and the Mickey Callaway regime make as well. This has to be the nail in the coffin for anyone who had hope in the Mets making a run. It would not be surprising if Rojas also lost his job before this weekend’s series.

Carlos Carrasco looks to build on his solid start against the Dodgers as he faces off against Alex Wood. The first pitch for Thursday’s finale is set for 7:10 p.m. ET from Citi Field.

Another Day, Another Loss: Dodgers Beat Mets 3-2

The Los Angeles Dodgers continue to use the New York Mets as their punching bags, taking their fifth consecutive game against them this season. This time, Walker Buehler led the way as he held the Mets to just two runs in 7.2 dominant innings to give the Dodgers a 3-2 win.

Despite the quiet offensive night, the Mets had their best chance at tying the game against the fatigued Buehler in the eighth inning. A wild pitch set up the Mets with runners on second and third with only one out. Jeff McNeil thought he drew a walk to load the bases, but home plate umpire Nestor Ceja punched him out on a clear ball. Pete Alonso got one run in with an infield single that grazed his foot, making it a 3-2 game. Alonso also took care of the first run with his half swing, resulting in a solo home run to right-center field.

The hit chased Buehler and set up a matchup between Alex Vesia and Michael Conforto. Their at-bat resulted in a gutsy 10-pitch walk which loaded the bases for J.D. Davis. As usual, Davis saw a heavy dose of fastballs up in the zone, but one at the knees is what struck him out looking to get out of the inning. Kenley Jansen came on to shut the door in the ninth inning to throw a 1-2-3 inning on eight pitches to get the save.

Classic Carrasco

Carlos Carrasco looked like he would have another short outing after allowing three runs and five hits in his first three innings of work. Carrasco managed to get himself into a groove and retired the last eight batters he faced. Overall, Carrasco pitched five innings, allowing three runs and striking out six. It was by far the best outing of his short season so far.

The trio of Aaron Loup, Trevor May, and Seth Lugo continued the streak by retiring all three batters in their single innings of work. Each had efficient outings, with Loup and Lugo needing eight pitches while May needed 16 pitches.

On Saturday, both teams rematch for an earlier 4:10 p.m. ET start from Dodger Stadium. Rich Hill and Max Scherzer take the mound for their respective teams, combining 31 years of MLB experience.

Mets Comeback Falls Short and Losing Streak is Five After 3-2 Loss

These days it almost seems like the New York Mets are losing before the game even starts. The San Francisco Giants came just about as close as a team can in game two of their series. It took just two batters in the bottom of the first for the Giants to get themselves a lead, and it became one they never looked back on. The Mets were no match for Logan Webb and fell to the Giants, 3-2.

LaMonte Wade and Tommy La Stella started on the bench for game one of the series against a lefty, but Giants manager Gabe Kapler had them back in the lineup for game two. Sure enough, they batted first and second and got things going early for the Giants. Wade led off with a single, and La Stella blasted a two-run homer to get an early 2-0 lead against Marcus Stroman.

Bookended Start

Stroman’s start was marked with a rough beginning and a bitter ending. After the home run in the first inning, Stroman slowly settled into a groove throughout his start. Evan Longoria tagged Stroman for a solo home run in the seventh inning when the Mets tried to stretch him out for another inning. Overall it was a solid start as Stroman went seven innings, allowing three runs and striking out a season-high nine batters on 114 pitches.

Unfortunately, it was more of the same for the Mets offense against Giants starter Logan Webb. He was red hot coming into his start and shut out the Mets for 7.1 innings before allowing a Pete Alonso two-run home run to make it a 3-2 game. Webb struck out eight in the start and had a very efficient 83 pitches before leaving the game.

The Mets had an opportunity to tie the game with a runner on second and two outs in the ninth inning. Kevin Pillar ended up striking out looking on three straight to extend the losing streak to five. Travis Blankenhorn was a left-handed option to face Dominic Leone, but manager Luis Rojas trusted Pillar. The Mets were 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left six on base.

The loss put the Mets under .500 for the first time since May 5 and 4.5 games out of first place in the NL East. They will try to avoid the sweep on Wednesday as Tylor Megill takes the mound against Anthony DeSclafani for a 3:45 p.m. ET start from Oracle Park.

Mets’ Pete Alonso keeps burying the post-Derby power drought myth

A few baseball players and personalities seem to believe that participating in a Home Run Derby can alter a batter’s swing for a certain period of time. The event is geared to generate power, so hitters will generally try to hit hard fly balls. However, that is a myth, and there isn’t enough evidence over the years that can actually be thought of as a general rule. And for New York Mets’ slugger Pete Alonso, the competition seems to have had the opposite effect: he has been a beast since the break.

The Mets have been able to keep occupying first place in the NL East division for eleven consecutive weeks, and it has been, in great part, thanks to Alonso’s recent contributions. He hit a two-run homer to tie Sunday’s game as the team narrowly edged the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4.

The blast was Alonso’s fifth in nine games since the Home Run Derby, a competition he won for the second consecutive time, took place.

“When Pete comes up in that situation, I’m beginning to expect a home run there,” his Mets’ teammate Jeff McNeil said to MLB.com.

The Mets’ slugger is bringing the power

After the All-Star break, Alonso is on fire, with hits in all nine games, the five homers, and 10 RBI. Eight of those have come in Mets’ wins.

“I don’t know if the Derby played a role in it,” manager Luis Rojas said, “but he’s definitely very confident right now.”

Recently, Alonso said he thinks he is not only the Mets’ top power guy, but he is also the best in MLB. He is doing everything he can to back those words.

 

“Pete is that guy, right?” Rojas said. “We have some guys that can hit some homers, but this is the guy that has the record for most homers hit by a rookie, and this is his second full season at the Major League level. So this is a guy that we expect to hit homers and lead the team in homers, probably. So when he hits one, you feel that’s your guy out there that can wipe up the bases.”

Re-Pete! Mets’ star defends his Home Run Derby crown with impressive performance

New York Mets’ slugger Pete Alonso put on a show on Monday night and won his second consecutive Home Run Derby after his triumph in 2019 (there wasn’t one in 2020 because of the pandemic).

The Mets first baseman defeated Baltimore Orioles’ slugger Trey Mancini and successfully defended his 2019 title. Only Ken Griffey Jr. (1998-99) and Yoenis Céspedes (2013-14) have been able to win the Derby in back to back years.

“I think I’m the best power hitter on the planet,” Alonso said to MLB.com. “Being able to showcase that and really put on a fun display for fans, it’s truly a dream come true for me. When I was younger, my parents actually let me stay up past my bedtime to watch this.”

The Mets’ slugger never doubted his victory

The Mets’ infielder has 17 homers in the season, which earned him the fifth seed among the eight contestants. But he bopped a whopping 35 home runs in the first round, the highest number in a round in the night, easily topping Salvador Perez’s 28.

“There was no point where I thought I was going to lose. Ever,” Alonso said. “When the seedings came out, teammates came up to me and said, ‘That’s disrespectful. You’re defending your title; what guy that’s defending their title is a fifth seed? Nobody. Aren’t you pissed about that?’ I said, ‘No. I’m going to win anyway. It doesn’t matter.’”

And he won. His title was never in doubt, and he hit home run after home run. For stretches, he didn’t miss a pitch. It was truly impressive.

Mets fans and baseball observers watched in awe how Alonso belted a 512-feet and a 514-feet dinger.

“As soon as I saw 35 up there, I’m like, ‘That’s untouchable,’” Alonso said. “That was the goal from every round. I knew if I faced Ohtani, I would have to do the same thing. My approach was I have to be the standard; I have to be the bar. I wanted to make the standard incredibly untouchable.”

Alonso defeated Juan Soto, who eliminated Shohei Ohtani in spectacular fashion, in the second round, before dispatching Mancini in the finals.

Mets’ slugger Pete Alonso ready to defend his crown in the 2021 Home Run Derby

New York Mets’ slugger Pete Alonso will try to defend his crown in the 2021 MLB Home Run Derby, which will be on Monday at Coors Field and will be part of the All-Star Game festivities after a one-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The action will start tonight at 8 pm, ET, and eight of the best and most feared power hitters in the game will take some hacks to see who is the most powerful of all. Alonso won the 2019 edition, so that makes him the defending champion.

The Mets’ slugger didn’t hesitate to participate one more time in a competition that is made for him and his powerful right-handed swing.

The rest of the participants are as follows: the Texas Rangers’ Joey Gallo, the Baltimore Orioles’ Trey Mancini, the Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, the Oakland A’s Matt Olson, the Kansas City Royals’ Salvador Perez, the Washington Nationals’ Juan Soto and the Colorado Rockies’ Trevor Story.

Mets’ fans are eager to see their slugger put on a show tonight

While every participant has enough power to win the event, it’s clear that most fans are eager to see what Ohtani can do in the Derby, and we could be in for a historic night.

Alonso, who represented the Mets in 2019, has 17 home runs in 2021, with the longest one traveling 443 feet. The hardest-hit home run of Alonso’s season came on April 21 against the Chicago Cubs, a 115.4-mph screamer that sounded like a gunshot as it left the bat.

Alonso launched 57 total homers (fourth most in a Derby), including 20 in a semifinal victory over Ronald Acuña Jr. and 23 in the final showdown with Vladimir Guerrero Jr., two years ago.

 

If he wins tonight, he will join Ken Griffey Jr. (1994, ‘98-99), Yoenis Céspedes (2013-14) and Prince Fielder (2009, 2012) as the only multiple-time Derby champions.