The New York Mets expect to enter the 2021 MLB season with one of the most dangerous offenses in baseball. Despite being a franchise with a reputation for great pitching throughout most of the past decade, New York has clearly pivoted into a power-filled offensive juggernaut.
All-Stars like Francisco Lindor, Michael Conforto, and Jeff McNeil all feature established, dangerous, bats. However, when it comes to power, one Mets’ star stands above the rest. In fact, this man may very well pace the entire sport in home runs in 2021. And possibly beyond. We are, of course, talking about first baseman Pete Alonso.
Alonso exploded onto the scene to the tune of an MLB rookie record of 53 home runs and an NL Rookie of the Year award during his inaugural Major League season in 2019. He is projected to continue his smashing ways with a league-leading 42 homers in 2021.
Mets fans do (and should) have high expectations for the Polar Bear this season. However, the unprecedented beginning to his career begs another important question: How high can Alonso climb over over the course of his Mets career?
The Key Factors
Several critical pieces of information should be considered. First, is Alonso’s raw power. It is no coincidence that he broke an MLB record during his rookie campaign. He has a level of strength and power that is rare, even by modern MLB standards.
Look at this monstrous blast for example:
This 458-foot moonshot from 2019 was the longest home run hit in Citi Field in the StatCast era. Alonso’s raw power makes it look casual.
It is also important to note the first baseman’s age. Some recent transcended prospects (Bryce Harper and Juan Soto come to mind) broke into The Show in their late teens and early 20s. Alonso’s career path is on a different arc.
Despite being a rookie in 2019, the Polar Bear is already 26 years old. While this is certainly young time enough to carve out a long and successful baseball career, he will likely have a half-decade less playing time than prospects who were promoted in their teens.
Lastly, one must factor in his contract situations. The Mets have gone above and beyond to keep their budding star happy. However, Alonso’s rookie contract represents pennies compared to the riches that await him.
There is a real chance Alonso finds himself moving to another franchise at some point in the future.
The New York Mets Home Run King
Daryl Strawberry currently sits atop the Mets all-time leaderboard in home runs. His 252 blasts while wearing blue and orange paces the history of the franchise.
While this total is certainly no small feat, one should expect Alonso to have a real chance to break, and even shatter this record. After just two seasons in the league (one of which was shorted to only 60 games), the Polar Bear already ranks 27th in team history with 69 homers.
If Alonso averages just 35 home runs per season (a modest projection considering his early career power numbers), it would take him just 5.2 seasons to sit atop the leaderboard. An average of 40 homers per year would have him breaking the record mid-way through the 2025 campaign.
Injuries or inconsistencies in play could hamper this timeline. However, barring an unforeseen and major setback, Alonso seems like a lock to become the best power hitter in the history of the New York Mets.
Other Mets’ Records
The home run title is the most obvious record in Alonso’s future. However, there do appear to be several others in his potential path.
It would seem the length of his tenure with the franchise is the biggest key. Should Alonso stick with the Mets for the next decade, he could easily re-write the record books. If he is enticed by a mega-contract and leaves New York during his first free agency period, his impact will be minimized significantly.
Interestingly enough, Alonso is already over halfway to the Mets’ all-time hit-by-pitch record. Former first baseman Luca Duda leads the franchise with 48 HBP. Alonso already ranks 15th with 27. Should this pace continue, he could hold his strange record as early as 2022.
Alonso also measures well in advanced metrics such as adjusted batted runs and adjusted batting wins. David Wright currently leads the franchise in both categories with Strawberry, Mike Piazza, and Keith Hernandez rounding out the rest of the top four in each (in that order).
Should Alonso elect to spend the majority of his career with his current franchise, he should expect to make a noticeable dent in the Mets’ record books.
While he lacks the hitting consistency to challenge for the titles of hit king or RBI leader, he has a clear path toward dominating the power categories.
Want your voice heard? Join the Rising Apple team!
Here’s hoping we see the Polar Bear mashing in Citi Field, and giving the rising apple a workout, for many years to come!