Lost in the shuffle in the New York Mets’ early success in 2022 has been two developments in Pete Alonso’s game in the past week that will benefit the team going forward and will be key to their championship aspirations both now and in the future.
Mets first baseman Pete Alonso isn’t relying on the home run ball and instead is letting the game come to him
Alonso is seeing what happens when you trust your teammates to get big hits, and his stats in his last six games have proven just that. Alonso batted .375 in this stretch (9-for-24), and all nine hits went for singles.
He drew a key two-out walk in game two of the doubleheader on Tuesday against the Giants. Alonso fell behind in the count 0-2, but he worked out a seven-pitch walk against San Francisco starter Logan Webb to get on base. This set the stage for the next batter, Eduardo Escobar, to hit a two-run double that proved to be the difference in the game.
Alonso then drove in two runs in Friday’s win over the Arizona Diamondbacks in unusual fashion. One came on a pop fly single, while the other on a soft groundout, and the Mets won that game on an infield hit in the 10th inning in a one-run game.
Manufacturing runs in different ways is what separates the great teams from the good teams. Alonso and his teammates are doing just that, and is a reason why they are off to such a great start, setting the tempo and establishing an offensive identity early on, unlike last year where they had so many issues driving in baserunners.
Alonso also learned mental toughness can also come with his defense at first base
Alonso made the team’s most critical defensive play of the young season at first base in a big spot in game one of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Giants. The Giants had runners on first and third with two out in game one of Tuesday’s twin-bill in a 4-4 game in the top of the tenth inning.
Shortstop Francisco Lindor made an off-target throw, but Alonso bailed him out by lunging as far as he could to his left to catch the ball while keeping his right toe on the bag to record the third out of the inning and keep the game tied. The Mets won the game on Lindor's single in the bottom of the inning.
Alonso currently has a defensive runs saved rating of -4 this season, the lowest on the team, but he set out to make improving on defense a priority, and in some big situations, it has paid off in another encouraging sign for the Mets moving forward.
For a team whose roster construction allows for several players to serve as the designated hitter, and understanding how important Alonso’s bat is in the lineup and that Alonso can only play first base on the field, his defensive improvements allow other key things to go into motion in-game.
Alonso doesn’t need to win Gold Gloves to validate any defensive worth he might have, but the focus on his craft and getting better at it as the season goes along goes a long way to helping his team win a championship.