Mets slugger Pete Alonso making an early case as Rookie of the Year frontrunner
By Joseph Romano
New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso had an outstanding late March and April which has propelled him into the thick of the National League Rookie of the Year race. This is the case for his preeminent position among all the competitors.
April was largely a .500 one for the New York Mets, in which the offense strongly outproduced the pitching. Something that hardly anyone would have believed only a month ago.
Headlining this powerful offense was Pete Alonso, a slugging rookie first baseman, who has already bashed 9 home runs and driven in 26 runs through 114 at-bats. While his ragging bat has been tempered a bit, this much was expected due to his unsustainable rate of success to start the 2019 season. However, he has demonstrated the traits of an MLB star.
Alonso- embracing the nickname of the polar bear- has displayed immense power to all fields, as well as the ability to hit for a high average. The troubles begin to come in when he becomes over-zealous and chases breaking pitches below the zone and swings through rising fastballs above the belt.
Alonso has the ability to be a solid hitter, as well as a slugger if he can remain selective in his plate appearances. He, of course, has room to learn but appears to be off to the proper start.
Perhaps Alonso’s most impressive home run, a simple stroke directly to the elevated fastball. He has intimidating power, yet he allows the velocity of the 96 mph fastball does most of the work for him. When allowing the ball to travel into the zone he can unleash his quick strike and drive it beyond sight to center and right-center.
His quick wrists and natural power allow him to drive the ball without selling out to pull, which leaves a player susceptible to getting fooled by breaking pitches that dive below the zone.
On Game of Thrones night, at Citi Field, Alonso launched a mammoth of a shot whose arc deep beyond the original Citi Field fence- referred to as the Great Wall of Flushing. Alex Claudio was attempting to sneak in a curveball to catch him off guard on a 3-2 count. However, it floated to the middle of the zone rather than breaking out of it, thus Alonso absolutely unloaded on the ball, producing one of the most certain no-doubt shots of the season.
He has proven himself capable of driving both fastballs and breaking balls to any part of the park for power and average. The rest of the season is simply a matter of consistency. He has captured the attention of the fans, now he must sustain it through a full season.
This final clip displays the excellence of Alonso as a hitter and may certainly point to the possibility of such consistency. He is down in the count 1-2 to Raisel Iglesias, who is quite a tough matchup in his own right. Instead of just wailing at a pitch and swinging under it in an attempt to drive it out of sight, he lines it up and ensured contact resulting in a deep sacrifice fly to win the game.
These at-bats are not exactly eye-catching, yet they compose a season for a player and a team. If a player can routinely contribute in this way, he will find himself on a team with more wins and with a better stat line.
Despite a lack of range and being an absolute offense-first player, Alonso has proven to be a more than adequate first baseman, who can make all the plays. He did not as out of place as the Phillies slugger Rhys Hoskins and has shown much more agility than previous first basemen, such as Wilmer Flores or Lucas Duda.
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Alonso was just named NL Rookie of the Month for April and deservingly so, as he is a full 10 RBI higher than the next closest rookie. Overall, he simply needs to maintain his success over the rest of the season and the NL ROY is his. However, a rising swing and miss rate can hold him back somewhat and allow others to enter the race.