Pete Alonso is off to an historic start in his career with the New York Mets, with five home runs in 11 games, the best start in Mets history.
After last season ended with the retirement of David Wright, the New York Mets were left searching for their next star position player. On the mound, they knew they had Cy Young winner Jacob DeGrom carrying on the pitching history of the Mets, following names like Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden. They just didn’t know who would come after Wright, especially with Yoenis Cespedes on and off the disabled list.
Then came Pete Alonso, who is doing damage in a major way for the Mets. It looks like he might be ready to step into that role. He had his first hit in his first game, two doubles in his second game and has not stopped hitting the ball well since then. He is joining a select group with the stats he is putting up.
Alsono is even outperforming everybody’s favorite rookie from last year, and potential MVP pick for this season, Ronald Acuna Jr. Through 11 games last season, Acuna had a .932 OPS, while Alonso is currently at 1.306. If Alonso continues to hit at the level that Acuna has been able to maintain, he will definitely be able to be the next great Met.
The most magical part of Alonso’s start is how sustainable his high level of performance could be. In looking at his raw Statcast data, he is second in the MLB in barrels per plate appearance, in which a barrel means great contact. He is also third in the MLB in hard-hit percentage. So, when he hits the ball, he hits it hard. Combine that with the fact that Alonso makes contact with nearly 80 percent of the strikes that he swings at, and he has the makings of an elite hitter. This is reflected in his ranking eighth in the MLB in expected wOBA, a number which his performance should continue to revolve around. In addition, his .530 wOBA is good for sixth in the league.
The only thing he really needs to work on is his 30 percent strikeout rate, but it is right in line with fellow Rookie of the Year candidates Fernando Tatis Jr. and Victor Robles. Despite this similar strikeout rate, Alonso leads the three in wOBA, wRC+ and OPS. He is the clear current favorite for Rookie of the Year, and other rookies will have to step up their game to catch New York’s new golden boy.
Some players are chewed up and spit out by New York, but Alonso has already earned some love from the fans. If he keeps producing at the level that he is at now, he will continue to earn that love. Alonso looks ready to be the face of the Mets franchise for years to come.