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Mets adding Pete Alonso to Opening Day roster is win-win for player and team

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PORT ST. LUCIE, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 23: Peter Alonso #20 of the New York Mets rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run in the second inning against the Atlanta Braves during the Grapefruit League spring training game at First Data Field on February 23, 2019 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
PORT ST. LUCIE, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 23: Peter Alonso #20 of the New York Mets rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run in the second inning against the Atlanta Braves during the Grapefruit League spring training game at First Data Field on February 23, 2019 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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Slugger Pete Alonso will begin the 2019 MLB season on the New York Mets Opening Day roster. It’s a win-win situation for both the player and the team.

Debate no more- Pete Alonso is now a Major League Baseball player. After much speculation about who’s on first, the New York Mets have decided to carry Alonso on their 2019 Opening Day roster.

This decision was made public less than 24 hours after some of the MiLB’s best players made their respective teams, with Eloy Jimenez and Fernando Tatis Jr. making the major league rosters of the Chicago White Sox and San Diego Padres.

Much like Jimenez and Tatis, service time played a large role in the decision to carry Alonso on the Major League roster. Although the Mets now lose a seventh year of team control, this roster decision was a positive one for both Alonso and the franchise.

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Alonso mashed last season, posting a .974 OPS while driving in 119 RBIs (first in MiLB) in 132 minor league games. Alonso homered in his final AAA game to give him 36 on the year which tied him for the MiLB lead across all levels. This trend continued as Alsonso picked right back up where he left off with a home run off Braves pitcher Touki Toussaint on the first Grapefruit League pitch he saw.

Alonso’s .352 BA and 1.006 OPS were both top 5 NL marks this spring and paired with injuries to Todd Frazier and Jed Lowrie, ultimately forced the Mets’ hand. Alonso is ranked the number 1 first base prospect according to MLB.com Pipeline (51 overall) and Fangraphs has his raw power ranked 80/80 on the scouting scale. Alonso is a former 2nd round pick of the 2016 MLB Draft and has quickly risen through the Mets minor league system.

While there were concerns about his defense and his ability to hit outside pitches out of the University of Florida, Alonso proved to be a steady defender at first with a solid arm and an improved understanding of the strike zone. It’s no secret that Alonso won’t be stealing many bases, but he was called up to be the dangerous power bat that the Mets desperately needed.

The Mets will play all four division rivals in their opening month and when the division is up for grabs, there is no reason why the team shouldn’t carry their 25 best players. Alonso undoubtedly makes the roster better

Mets manager Mickey Callaway recently discussed the prospect of breaking camp with Pete Alonso on the Major League team:

"“I think that if it makes us have the best team (to carry both guys) and we think that we’re not doing the player a disservice. … we want to make sure that everybody that’s on our roster is one of the best 25 guys.”"

Alonso will give the Mets their best chance to contend as the Opening Day first baseman. He will likely split time with Dominic Smith until Frazier and Lowrie return and once that point is reached, it will likely be a who’s hot scenario with the team likely experimenting with many possible infield and even outfield combinations.

This is drastically different than the infamous 2015 decision made by the Chicago Cubs to keep Kris Bryant in the Minor Leagues until the middle of April. Bryant batted .321 to open 2018 (AAA) and the Cubs began their season 5-3 without Bryant. The Cubs went on to win 97 games that season. Bryant still thinks that the Cubs did him an injustice to this day and avoiding conflict with the organization’s best up-and-coming minor league player would be wise for the Mets’ future.

This promotion is a dream come true for Alonso:

"“I might cry if they give me the thumbs-up, because it’s a lifelong dream,…This is my livelihood, my life’s work and to get the thumbs-up, you’re a big leaguer, that’s surreal.”"

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Alonso has certainly earned his Major League uniform and will suit up on Opening Day wearing number 20 for the New York Mets. The Mets did not promote Alonso to sit; he will likely start the bulk of the Mets’ games at first base, for now. Once Frazier and Lowrie return, the Mets will be faced with a good problem to have.

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