Pete Alonso had a historic 2019 in which he crushed the rookie home run rookie record of Aaron Judge but in 2020 it seemed that power bat was not as consistent as it had been the year before.
2020 was a weird year for everyone but Alonso entered the off-season determined to rebound in 2021 and his swing looks like it did in that historic rookie season. By that I mean his pitch selection is better not swinging for breaking pitches out of the strike zone and using the whole field when pitchers try to spot their fastballs on the outside corner.
Alonso had no home runs in last year’s truncated spring training and yesterday he hit his second homer of the spring giving the Mets a 1-0 win. So far in the spring Alonso owns a 1,263 OPS and he thinks he is rebounding nicely when he said, “I have to always concentrate on the fact that becoming too pull happy limits my numbers. I have the power to hit the ball the other way and homers are great but key RBI hits is what I want to focus on.”
The Met first basemen also is very cognizant of the fact that this is a deep lineup and sometimes you need to pass the torch in a key inning. “This is a deep and talented lineup”, says Alonso, “and sometimes taking the walk is appropriate as the guy behind me is always capable of breaking the game open.”
Pete Alonso has always been a huge part of the positive energy inside the Met clubhouse and you can already see that the new additions readily recognize that fact. His power bat strikes fear in the hearts of opposing pitchers but he also understands that chemistry off the field is a ley component as well. He recently got his contract renewed even after asking for an increase in pay even though he knew the Mets had the right to merely renew it. But he also knew the Mets gave him a big increase in pay last year when they did not have to and knows down the line he will get his financial awards if he performs.
This is all part of the maturity Alonso shows to fans, the media, and his teammates as he wants nothing to stand in the way of team success. Both he and Dominic Smith have a great friendship and when you consider at times in their careers they were battling each other for playing time that is amazing and speaks to the level of people both of them are.
Whether 2020 was a season Pete Alonso had a downturn in his numbers was due to truncated season or a 2nd year jinx be rest assured he has put that way in his rear view mirror. I can discern that by his swing and his comments. And that is great news for Met fans as this lineup is loaded and with a return to dominance by Alonso it may be overflowing with RBI’s once the season starts. And that will only increase the effectiveness of a rotation led by the best pitcher in the sport.
We saw that yesterday as Jacob deGrom routinely hit triple digits on the radar gun striking out 7 of the 9 batters he faced in a 1-0 win over the Astros, Alonso put it best when he said, “He is aging like fine wine and it is so fun to watch because every year he keeps getting better and better.”
A Pete Alonso homer and a Jacob deGrom gem–get used to seeing that a whole bunch this season which will put a frown on the faces of every team the Mets play in the NL East.