An X-factor for the 2020 New York Mets that goes beyond the action on the field is the leadership Pete Alonso brings to the locker room.
It’s easy to say this: Pete Alonso was such a huge part of the 2019 New York Mets season. Nothing should change this year. He may get pitched to differently, but adjustments can be made to compensate.
The Mets were able to survive without him at his best following the Home Run Derby. Even when his bat went silent, his leadership surely played a role in motivating the club.
Prior to the beginning of a new season, fans will often take a look at what the upcoming year’s X-Factor may be. In the case of the Mets, I believe it’s Alonso’s big bat and leadership qualities which will sway the team in either direction.
Humility is a statistic that doesn’t show up on any stat sheet. Alonso has plenty of it and I think it will one day land him a role as a captain on this team one day. He was able to go from a guy in Double-A the previous season to someone setting the rookie home run record.
The leap was gigantic. And with each passing week, it seemed like Alonso became a bigger role-player behind the scenes.
When the Mets went into the 2020 season, there were often questions about who this team’s leader was. After years of having David Wright around for this, we became accustomed to having a guy like this.
It didn’t take long for Alonso to show off those abilities. By midseason, it was clear the Mets were his team.
Alonso did it in a way we don’t always see. He didn’t steal the team or battle with veterans. He spoke loudest with his bat and played with the team as a priority.
There were moments in 2019 when I felt there was pressure on Alonso to perform better. With the constant stories about the rookie home run record always looming, I think it may have gotten into his head. Alonso wanted to win and his home runs often led to Mets victories.
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In year two, with less personal pressure, I expect a smoother season with fewer growing pains. Alonso has his rookie season in the past. Hopefully more comfortable than ever before facing the top pitchers in the game, he can focus on what makes him especially unique: unquestioned leadership.