Pete Alonso is doing to batting average what Jacob deGrom did to pitcher wins

Pete Alonso is reminding us you can have a productive year without a good batting average.

New York Mets v Minnesota Twins
New York Mets v Minnesota Twins / David Berding/GettyImages

There may not be another starting pitcher yet to step foot on a major league mound destined to win 200 games again. A limited number of innings and starts has pushed the threshold downward for what we can expect from even the greatest pitchers in baseball. New York Mets fans learned very well in 2018 how meaningless wins for pitchers can be when Jacob deGrom had one of the best seasons ever only to come away with a 10-9 record.

It has become accepted that wins for a pitcher don’t matter as much as something like a quality start or even 5 clean innings. Our standards have dropped, sure. But that’s what this game has grown into.

On the other side of the baseball, batting averages are weighted much differently. Helping to push the narrative is Mets first baseman Pete Alonso who in 2023 is having one of the best offensive seasons in club history with the exception of batting average where he has underwhelmed greatly.

NY Mets slugger Pete Alonso is a part of the new breed of players where batting average doesn’t matter

Through 134 games this year, Alonso has hit .224 but added 43 home runs and 103 RBI. The homers are already more than the 40 he hit last year. He’ll come up shy of the 131 RBI yet he could challenge the 120 he had as a rookie in 2019.

Think of it this way; could Alonso have done much more than he already has? In terms of hitting home runs and driving them in, already topping 40 dingers and 100 RBI puts him in an elite company. Yes, he could have a few more doubles and some timely singles. Many of those hits would fall into the compiler’s list. What good is a two out single that leaves you stranded?

Alonso is tracking to have his second-best season in terms of slugging percentage. As a slugger, this looks pretty good. The year hasn’t been completely dominant with Alonso nearing his second-highest strikeout total of his career. While he won’t match the 183 strike three calls against him in 2019, he’s closing in on the 128 he had in 2022.

Scoring runs is the number one goal of any team. Alonso’s purpose is to be the catalyst to drive them in. Yet another triple-digit year of plating himself and teammates, it’s difficult to get too critical about his batting average which, while poor, hasn’t stopped him from contributing.

The only place this hurts Alonso statistically is with his BAbip. It’s a statistic that does punish home run hitters with low averages. The Polar Bear has hung around the bottom of the league in this statistic all season long.

So what?

Teammate Francisco Lindor is another member of the Mets pushing this thought process. He, too, is having a terrific season without the batting average to back it up. Timely and impactful hitting is what matters a whole lot more than the frequency.