Two months into the 2019 MLB campaign, New York Mets rookie Pete Alonso continues to dazzle with an impressive start to the season. Despite some struggles, he’s still a better Rookie of the Year candidate than San Diego Padres pitcher Chris Paddack.
After exploding onto the scene in his first MLB season, Pete Alonso has truly made a splash since joining his teammates in Flushing. Currently owning a .254 BA, with 17 HRs, and 38 RBI through 214 MLB plate appearances, I think it’s pretty safe to say that the New York Mets rookie’s numbers speak for themselves – lest we forget to mention his outstanding clubhouse presence.
His passion and respect for the game has become abundantly clear to Mets fans tuning in to watch the early part of his remarkable 2019 season. Despite the team’s current standing, teetering near the .500 mark heading into June, Alonso has remained a consistent player in terms of production and even leadership notwithstanding his rookie status.
Making the call to start him on Opening Day remains one of Brodie Van Wagenen’s best decisions in his short time as general manager. The 24-year-old first baseman has already broken the Mets rookie record for home runs before the All-Star break, previously held by OF Ron Swoboda (15), after hitting his 16th on a game-tying moonshot against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field on May 21st.
Additionally, the fact that there is still a full month of baseball to be played before the All-Star game slated for the second week of July also means that Alonso will be able to add to his accomplishments and further cement himself in Mets history, and potentially MLB history should he reach the 30 home run mark before the break.
Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if he leads the Mets in home runs by a larger margin than he currently holds over OF Michael Conforto, who has hit the second-most HRs at 9. Although, for the sake of the team’s success, I do hope more players improve and start contributing at the plate.
It is for this reason that Pete Alonso is more deserving of the NL Rookie of the Year honors than San Diego Padres SP Chris Paddack, who has not accomplished anything nearly as groundbreaking as Alonso has done (and is on the cusp of continuing to do) as the season progresses.
While Paddack’s 4-2 win/loss record, combined with a 1.93 ERA and 56 K’s in 9 starts is certainly impressive stats that make their own case for the award, they aren’t breaking any records or surpassing milestones like what Alonso has been able to achieve in such a short window.
Although personality is not part of the criteria for winning this honor, I still think it’s worth noting that Alonso has a much better attitude than Paddack, who seemed to harbor some pretty negative feelings toward the Mets star the last time the team traveled to San Diego. Apparently, it stemmed from all the attention Alonso had received as the recipient of the NL Rookie of the Month for April over Paddack, who was also in the running for this acknowledgment.
How fitting would it be if it came down to Alonso and Paddack for the ROY honors, with Alonso prevailing? I’d call it Poetic Justice, if you asked me. While Paddack may have dominated in his outing during the first game of the series, Alonso and the Mets had the last laugh when Alonso answered Paddack’s cheap talk with a 449-foot go-ahead two-run homer in the ninth inning of Game 2.
Nonetheless, another factor Alonso has going in his favor is that the Padres are expected to subject Paddack to an innings limits down the stretch whereas Alonso is currently penciled in as the Mets starting first baseman for as long as he can stay healthy. Alonso may not have started this feud, but he sure will finish it.
In any event, if only one good thing comes out of this uncertain 2019 Mets season, it will be the emergence of an MLB star and hopefully their starting first baseman for the next ten years.
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As a Mets fan, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this one of a kind talent. For now, I guess I will just have to sit back and enjoy the ride.