Pete Alonso Finally Gives The Mets Some Hope

Based on his rookie season, the sky's the limit for the young first baseman

Alonso’s Tremendous Rookie Campaign

After being selected in the second round of the 2016 draft, Pete Alonso cruised through minor league pitching and made a massive impact on the New York Mets this season. The 24-year-old rookie out of the University of Florida brought new life to the organization, which was something that they have been lacking since their David Wright days.

Alonso posted a triple slash line of .260/.359/.586 in his rookie season, which amounted to a .945 OPS. These are very solid numbers for a player that made an appearance in 161 of 162 contests this season. Alonso tallied 30 doubles and swatted 53 long-balls this season, topping Aaron Judge’s rookie home run record by just one. He also scored 102 times and drove in 120, proving to be one of the most valuable players this season. If Alonso’s rookie season has any foreshadowing on his career potential, then Mets fans are in for a splendid ride with him moving forward.

Looking Beyond The Basics

Some of the everyday stats that we read are telling in their own way, but looking at advanced stats can really give a deeper look into how dominant an individual’s season really was. Alonso’s advanced stats follow this trend with some eye-popping numbers and lines.

Alonso made hard contact regularly during his rookie season, accumulating a 42.3 percent hard hit rate and massive .326 ISO. His .386 wOBA tops his real OBP. His 41.3 percent fly ball rate helped induce many of his round-trippers, showing off his raw power. 40.8 percent of his batted balls had an exit velocity above 95 miles per hour, a truly inspiring line. The right-handed slugger was one of the only feared bats in New York’s lineup, and he should continue to torment the NL East for years to come.

The Rookie Home Run Record

Two of the highest outputs for rookies in the home run department came in 2017. Judge and Cody Bellinger posted seasons that ranks them second and fourth, respectively, on the all-time rookie homer list (now that Alonso has topped the list). Let’s take a look at how their seasons compared to Alonso’s stellar 2019.

When Judge tallied 52 bombs for the Yankees as a rookie in 2017, driving in 114 and posting a 1.049 OPS. His .343 ISO was masterful that season and so was his 45.3 percent hard hit rate. Judge’s 30.7 percent strikeout rate was much more hefty than Alonso’s 26.3 percent rate. Judge also had a much better supporting cast around him, along with a more expensive offense, which provided him a great deal of protection. 

Also in 2017, Bellinger bursted onto the scene and mashed 39 homers over just 132 games. He drove in 97 and posted a 43.0 percent hard hit rate. Bellinger’s .315 ISO can’t touch Judge or Alonso’s rookie outputs, but this just goes to show how tremendous Alonso’s season really was.

Contrasting Alonso’s lines against two of the game’s top hitters’ rookie campaigns shows how dominant he really was. Mets fans should be salivating at what Alonso could bring them moving forward. Judge and Bellinger are now household names and are thriving by pushing their clubs into the postseason spotlight. Signs point to Alonso having a terrific career.

New York’s 2020 Outlook

With a team payroll that sat just over $157 million in 2019, the Mets will have to figure things out for 2020. Todd Frazier’s $9 million and Zack Wheeler’s $5.975 million salaries will be off the books, but many arbitration players will see nice raises. Noah Syndergaard’s $6 million salary will get a nice boost and so will guys like Michael Conforto, Steven Matz, and Marcus Stroman. This could leave the Mets with very little leeway to make a splash in the offseason free agent market.

Yoenis Cespedes has really put a damper on things for New York and restricted their ability to sign players. His $29.5 million salary next season will continue to hold them back, along with Robinson Cano’s hefty salary. Still, the team is capable of writing a massive check for the right bat (maybe Anthony Rendon?) and are very capable of making a big splash in their large market. They were in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes, so why not another big name like Rendon?

Some players proved that they may not be long-term solutions for the Mets next season. Juan Lagares and Keon Broxton appear to be out of the picture, moving forward as pure backups. 

Meanwhile, Brandon Nimmo has established himself as a top of the order bat and Conforto has proven his worth, too. The outfield is set.

With Alonso manning first base, Cano taking second, and Amed Rosario showing signs that he’s a long-term shortstop answer, most of the infield is set. Third base seems to be up in the air, but Jed Lowrie (who missed most of this season due to injury) figures to play there primarily if they don’t fill that position in the offseason. Wilson Ramos should return as the regular catcher, so there isn’t a ton of needs for this club beyond a starting arm and some bullpen pieces. A major bat would help protect Alonso, so the Mets would figure to be in on some names.

This has the Mets lineup projected to look something like this: Rosario, Nimmo, Alonso, Conforto, Cano, Lowrie, Ramos, someone else and then the pitcher spot. Adding a legitimate power bat like Rendon or Josh Donaldson could make things that much sexier and are real possibilities. Don’t expect Cespedes to come back and make a splash, as he figures to take up a bench position.

Alonso is the staple for this young organization and he just showed it by wowing the entire baseball universe.

Now it’s up to the Mets front office to build a powerful lineup around him.