What’s not to like about Alonso?
Pete Alonso shining in big moments makes the Mets watchable in itself.
When Major League Baseball released its initial All-Star Game voting totals Tuesday, Josh Bell took the lead for most votes (621,915) at first base. If he wins the ballot at his position, he will start in the All-Star Game. He earned it by hitting ,324 with a 1.048 OPS and .660 slugging percentage to go along with 18 home runs and 58 RBI (league leading) this season in what has been a breakout season for him.
Mets first baseman Pete Alonso is ranked fifth in the ballot. It shouldn’t be surprising because most of the country never heard of him, and plenty of great first baseman occupy the Senior Circuit. It is surprising the NL Rookie of the Year candidate has 157,347 votes being that he plays for the nation’s biggest media market.
Alonso could have the most votes over his contemporaries at first base as soon as next year if he keeps up the trajectory he is on. He will have to settle for being selected by his peers in the midsummer classic in July. Chances are good he gets it since the Mets need an All-Star representative. He fits the bill since he leads the Mets with 22 home runs, not to mention he is their best hitter in the lineup.
Here’s what stands out about Alonso: He shines in big moments on a big stage.
The rookie illustrated it so well on Tuesday night when he hit a three-run home run off Yankees starter James Paxton in the first inning to give the Mets a 3-0 lead that helped spur them to a 10-4 blowout victory over the Yankees in Game 2 of the doubleheader at Yankee Stadium.
The Mets needed a lift after blowing a 4-1 lead en route to a 12-5 loss to the Yankees in Game 1 of the doubleheader on Tuesday afternoon. They received it from Alonso. He has come through all season, so this does not become surprising anymore. The Mets expect this out of their first baseman.
Alonso created his own legend starting on the night of May 7 when he hit a two-run home run off San Diego Padres reliever Adam Warren in the ninth inning to give the Mets a 7-5 lead. His home run turned out the be the difference maker in the Mets’ 7-6 victory over the Padres.
On May 11, Alonso broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning on a solo home run blast off Miami Marlins reliever Sandy Alcantara. That home run created a three-run sixth inning for the Mets that would give them a 4-1 victory over the Marlins.
On June 4 of the Mets’ 9-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants in 10 innings, he hit a leadoff home run off Giants ace Madison Bumgarner in the seventh inning to cut the Giants’ lead to 2-1. Two batters later, Wilson Ramos hit a two-run home run to give the Mets a 3-2 lead. It was Alonso’s spark that got the ball rolling for the Mets in that inning.
The Mets phenom engineered a three-run rally on April 6 when he hit his second home run of his career off Nationals reliever Justin Miller in the eighth inning to cut the Mets’ deficit to 5-4. The Mets went on to score a couple of runs in that inning on a Robinson Cano’s game-tying home run off Miller and Keon Broxton’s single off Nats reliever Tony Sipp that broke a 5-5 tie, scoring Michael Conforto, who was the leading man at second by hitting a double.
Yes, there’s more where it came from. Alonso just got started.
He provides the only reason to watch the Mets this summer. Mets fans can dream whether or not he can hit 40 home runs. They envision him providing more great moments like he did on Tuesday night against the Yankees. Maybe he leads the Mets on his own to play meaningful games in September that can have them in a division pursuit. We know he will break the Mets rookie home run record since he is four away from tying it.
The possibilities are endless with him.
In the age of exit velocity, Alonso’s mammoth home runs stand out more to the point where he becomes valuable to a team. Stat geeks love what Alonso is doing.
What makes Alonso so successful is his ability to take pitches and an eye on pouncing a pitcher’s mistake. He has that sweet swing that no one can teach, which makes it easy to shine in a big moment. Also, no one can teach him shining in a big moment. Either he knows it or he doesn’t.
He has the work ethic and physique to continue to be a home run hitter for the next seven years or even more.There’s no limit to what he can do.
The Mets haven’t had a player that was as clutch as Alonso in a long time. They found a keeper in him. He is as important to the Mets’ future as he is to the present. For sure, he is the best athlete in New York sports right now in a bar that is not exactly high.
One thing is certain: Alonso should be the face of the franchise and a perennial NL All-Star starter for a long time as long as he stays healthy.