Pete Alonso: Opening Day Starter! Rookie of the Year?
The 24-year-old Alonso has a chance to prove he is “The Man” for the Mets.
When all is said and done, Pete Alonso did all he could to prove himself worthy of an Opening Day roster spot. It was announced earlier that the 64th pick in the 2016 MLB Draft will be joining the Mets in the big leagues. Fans asked and management obliged.
What makes this surprising was that the Mets had interest in keeping Alonso down for about two weeks into the season. Like most prospects, Alonso’s service time was in question. Many chose the Mets to go through the “save money” route, especially when thinking about future contracts. There was no denying that Alonso belonged on the main roster, however. After all, entering Monday, Alonso led the Mets in home runs (4) and RBI (9). He was also tied for the Spring Training team lead in doubles with four.
Those impressive numbers ultimately ended up being the deciding factor for his promotion. That, and the injuries to Todd Frazier and Jed Lowrie. Now he must compete with Dominic Smith, who has hit .321 this spring, for a permanent first base spot. With young talent starting to thrive, the Mets pulling the trigger made the most sense. This comes not long after extending Jacob deGrom to a long-term contract.
Now that he is on the roster, what can Mets fans expect from Pete Alonso? Last season he slashed .285/.395/.579 between Double-A and Triple-A. Slugging 36 home runs, many are expecting big power numbers by the 24-year-old. FanGraphs has projected him hitting .239/.324/.450 with 24 home runs and 110 hits in 122 games.
With enough consistent at-bats, he has the ability to win Rookie of the Year for the National League. He does have some tough competition within the league. That is especially true within the division. The Nationals have outfielder Victor Robles while the Braves have reliever/starting pitcher Touki Toussaint. Let us not forget about the overall favorite, the Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr. If all can go according to plan for him, Alonso will be able to surprise all and surpass the stiff competition. Stranger things have happened.
The Mets may not even have Alonso up for that long. While they are trying to prove their commitment to the future with their fans, they still have to think about the overall product. There will be a chance that Alonso is the first one down if something goes wrong. For now, however, a healthy Alonso will do what he can to stay on the team.
As Opening Day approaches, a new chapter begins for the Mets. Pete Alonso is on the front line, waiting for his chance to do battle with the true professionals in a sport he has watched since he was a kid. With unlimited possibilities, Alonso will look to take advantage of opportunities. The end result? A potentially magical season for the Mets and their young star.
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