Ongoing Pete Alonso slump makes his HR Derby participation less thrilling

Pete Alonso's participation in this year's Home Run Derby isn't for the betterment of his regular season performance.
New York Mets v Arizona Diamondbacks
New York Mets v Arizona Diamondbacks / Norm Hall/GettyImages

Pete Alonso will represent the New York Mets in this year’s All-Star Game but first he’ll have a chance at winning the Home Run Derby again. A two-time winner in three chances already, it’s a contest the Polar Bear was built for.

His participation in it this year, however, comes at a different juncture for the Mets. The team is in fourth-place in the NL East and barely a factor in the NL Wild Card standings, too. The fabled idea of the Home Run Derby ruining a player’s swing isn’t always true. In Alonso’s case, it might exacerbate an ongoing problem.

Alonso is just 4 for 25 this month and wasn’t much better in June either, going 10 for 66 in the 18 games he did play. Going 14 for his last 91 at-bats has plummeted his batting average to .213. He exited May hitting .238 on the year which felt low for him. An ongoing slump mixed in with the hand injury which landed him on the IL for a little more than a week in June all come together to make it less thrilling to see Alonso double down on swinging for the fences.

NY Mets slugger Pete Alonso is hitting home runs but not doing much else

A .189 BAbip for Alonso has him ranked last among all qualified players in this statistic. The statistic that punishes power hitters who don’t do much else and rewards guys who don’t hit home runs is where we find the problem. Alonso is hitting a ton of home runs with only Shohei Ohtani averaging more per plate appearance in MLB. Alonso’s best attribute remains while those other needed qualities have been absent for weeks now.

The Home Run Derby is an exhibition fans tend to love or not care for. When your team is out of the playoff race completely, it could be an opportunity to see your favorite slugger at least win something. When things are going well for your ball club, it’s a cherry on top of an already good year.

The Mets happen to be caught in between those two options. With them playing especially well this month, the All-Star Break itself feels like a speed bump. It’s a momentum killer that could at least be a chance for slumping players like Alonso to get their heads right and maybe even take a little vacation. This won’t be the case for him.

We don’t have to worry about Alonso messing up his swing in the Home Run Derby because it’s already apparently broken. Because he is such a competitor and this showcase of power is something he loves, it’s hard to get upset that he’s doing it. We’ll all be rooting him on to win his third, but won’t get too upset if he ends up falling short with a bunch of hard line drives in the gaps or down the line.