The battle for first base continues between Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith
The 2019 MLB season is quickly approaching and the New York Mets have a good problem on their hands. First Baseman, Pete Alonso, and Dominic Smith have both been impressive to start this spring. Both Pete, and Dominic are fighting for the first base job heading into the 2019 season.
For some time, Met fans have already written off Dominic Smith as a bust. The 23-year-old has struggled to say the least in his first few years in the league. Over Smith’s short stint in the big leagues he has hit .210, with 96 strikeouts, and a .259 on-base-percentage throughout 332 plate appearances. Dominic was drafted 11th overall in the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft, out of Junipero Serra High School.
Flashes of what the Mets thought they were getting with Smith have shown this spring. Dom is back to his natural position at first, and throughout 11 games this spring, Dominic is hitting .407, with an on-base-percentage of .467. Whether it’s the competition for the position, or the correction in his sleeping pattern, which has been a problem for Smith in recent years, he has entered this Spring with a chip on his shoulder.
As for the other strong young candidate, Pete Alonso, things haven’t gone so bad. Heading into 2019, it was known that with a solid spring, Alonso would eventually be the Mets first basemen. The 24-year-old has done just that, hitting .406, with a .457 on-base-percentage, and three home runs throughout 11 games.
Pete was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft, from the University of Florida. Alonso was criticized for his defensive play, despite having impressive raw power from the right side of the plate. Alonso has taken these criticisms to heart, working extremely hard this spring to make sure he polishes his defensive play over at first. The work put in has shown, Pete has been solid defensively for the Mets so far this spring.
The other discussion around Pete Alonso is whether the Mets will keep him down to start the season in order to prolong his service time; but Mets GM, Brodie Van Wagenen, has stated that he will go with his best lineup opening day, regardless of service time.
With the Mets lineup being predominately lefties, Alonso may have the upper-hand in this first basemen battle. Despite signing right-handed catcher, Wilson Ramos, the Mets are still in need of a right-handed power bat; and heading into Spring, Brodie felt Alonso could be that guy. Pete has without question provided that this spring, mashing baseballs left and right; and with Smith being another left-handed-bat, it may be difficult for him to win the job, regardless of his performance.
The next two weeks will be heated for the two youngsters, as they look to keep up their fantastic starts and take the first basemen crown for this upcoming season.
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