Pete Alonso – DH
The 2019 National League Rookie of the Year took a step back in 2020, as he slashed .231/.326/.490 with 16 home runs and 35 RBI. These numbers looked worse than they actually were, as he ran into a ton of bad luck with a very low BABIP and a low fly ball to home run ratio. Yet, Alonso managed to hit 16 home runs in the shortened season and was on pace for 43 in a regular season. Would the Mets take a 43-home run campaign from their second-year first baseman? I think so. It might not have been the 53 home run rookie year, but that’s pretty impossible to repeat.
I think the pressure got to Alonso to repeat his performance at the beginning of the season, and once he finally got settled in, he blossomed. The Mets as a team really struggled to get big hits with runners in scoring position, and Alonso was the one who probably struggled the most. Once Alonso got more settled in during the month of September, he slashed .256/.316/.640 with 10 of his 16 home runs. And during the last week of the season, Alonso hit four home runs and hit safely in every game.
Where Alonso will play depends on whether there is a DH or not in the National League. I think even after the breakout campaign Dom Smith had, Alonso will still get the nod over him if there is no DH due to the track record and the superstar potential he’s proven he has. If there is a DH, I expect Dom Smith to play at first base a majority of the time as he did this season, but if there isn’t I expect Alonso to take his spot at first base back.
I think in his third season, under hopefully more normal circumstances, Alonso can thrive. He will be in the middle of a very deep and loaded lineup and should get pitches to hit with McNeil in front of him, and Michael Conforto behind him. Expect another 30+ home runs at least from Alonso with a better batting average and more consistency at the dish.