Pete Alonso: His stretch at first base
When asked by reporters about his future individual baseball goals, Pete Alonso tends to stick to one answer: “Win a Gold Glove.” Alonso was cited often throughout the minor leagues for his supposedly “weak” defense at first base. Since he was called up last season, he has proven that he has a solid, reliable glove at first that could actually be considered a Mets team strength.
One of Alonso’s strongest defensive assets is his ability to stretch and snare infield throws well before they approach first base. Alonso spoke about this in a NY Post article last year.
“When I was younger I used to take taekwondo,’’ Alonso said. “If baseball didn’t get in the way, I probably would have been a really advanced black belt. . . If I told you I can do a 180 split, would you believe me?’’
I certainly would.
To the untrained eye, it seems like Alonso is among the best in baseball at this particular defensive skill. In that same article from the Post, Mickey Callaway offered the same sentiments.
“He’s the best I’ve ever seen at stretching at first base,’’ Callaway said. “He catches balls where he is laying down. It’s unbelievable. We talk about it all the time on the bench when he does it. He can be laying down picking balls, amazing.’’
There are, surprisingly, not many official defensive metrics on a first baseman’s ability to stretch for a throw far in front of the base, but it is no doubt a crucial skill. Alonso is clearly focused on proving his doubters wrong and developing into one of the best defensive first basemen in the league. With his confidence and determination, I have no doubt that he can get there.
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These three players all excel in specific areas. For deGrom, it’s anything pitching-related. For Alonso and Davis, their obvious strengths lie in their power. However, their more underrated qualities that don’t turn as many heads make all three even more valuable to the Mets roster.