Mets should excuse Peter Alonso’s bad defense for his bat
By Tim Boyle
New York Mets prospect Peter Alonso can do a lot of handy work with his bat. When he puts a glove on his hand, it’s a different story.
It’s quite clear what Peter Alonso needs to improve most. The New York Mets first base prospect can smash baseball well, but it’s picking them with his glove that could use some work.
We often fall into the trap of thinking first base is a position where you hide a bad defender. While often true, it’s also a position for great glove men. It’s rare you can find a guy who hits and plays a good first base. Guys like Keith Hernandez and John Olerud do not grow on trees.
At this stage of his career, Alonso is a one-dimensional player. Unfortunately, he likely always will be.
However, if he can hit for a good batting average, show consistent discipline at the plate, and drive in runs then it’s easy to excuse his bad defense. We know the power is there. He needs to surround it with a few more elements.
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If Alonso becomes an all-or-nothing type of hitter, it may be harder to accept his defensive flaws.
To appreciate Alonso, Mets fans will need to excuse the weak glove he carries with him. He’s more Lucas Duda than anything else. As unfortunate as that sounds, he could turn into a much better hitter. More power and more regular hits could help Alonso become a threat in the Mets lineup for years to come.
Sometimes, I think we get caught up in needing what we are familiar with. The two greatest first basemen in team history are Hernandez and Olerud. Neither challenged for home run titles. Both did other things phenomenally, though.
This is the type of first baseman fans in Flushing expect. The deep history of productive catchers also makes it tougher to stomach the last few seasons. Whether it’s a defensive guru like Jerry Grote or a Hall of Fame slugger such as Mike Piazza, Mets catchers need to challenge for an All-Star appearance each season.
It’s not impossible for a minor league slugger with little fielding ability to turn into a good defensive player. Players go through the minor leagues for a reason. The trip through the farm is their time to develop those skills.
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Alonso has plenty of growth ahead of him. Let’s hope a part of it involves his glove.