If it wasn’t already abundantly obvious, the New York Mets have something special in Pete Alonso.
The 24-year-old first-base prospect has continued to tear the cover off baseballs in spring training as he’s forcing the Mets to make a difficult decision.
After smashing 36 home runs with 119 RBI in a combined 2018 season between double-A and triple-A, Alonso is proving that his monster minor-league campaign was no flash in the pan.
In 12 games (35 at-bats) down in Florida, Alonso is slashing .371/.421/.743, good for a 1.164 OPS, with three home runs and six RBI. He went viral on Saturday when he launched a moonshot of a home run against the Boston Red Sox over the 44-foot wall and out of JetBlue Stadium, nicknamed “Fenway South.”
It was so impressive that Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts had to stop his interview with NESN to comment, “Wow, that was loud.”
It’s just further adding to the building mystique of one of the Mets’ most promising prospects in recent memory.
In most scenarios, Alonso would be a no-brainer to be the Mets’ starting first baseman come Opening Day later this month. However, the Mets would be able to push back his eligibility for free agency until 2025 if they were to keep him down in the minors for the first 15 days of the season.
The tactic has become a common one across Major League Baseball, much to the chagrin of Major League Baseball Player’s Association executive director Tony Clark.
“Seeing what players are going through where their service time is being manipulated, on the front end and/or in the middle, is a concern, has been a concern and will continue to be a concern,” said Wednesday.
“We believe it’s hurting the industry,” he continued. “Being able to say that you have the best players on the field at all times is something you’d like to be able to say. In the current climate, you can’t say that.”
In a National League East division that is expected to be an all-out rock fight between the Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals, Atlanta Braves, and Mets, it’s vital that New York fields the best possible product at all times. After all, this is an organization that has painfully learned how vital every single game is (see the 2007 collapse).
“One game in April is the same as one game in September,” Clark said. “It can make the difference in whether you’re shaking hands in October and being excited about the postseason or you’re not.”