Entering spring training, it looked as if the New York Mets wouldn’t have a home for Pete Alonso. Veteran Todd Frazier was sliding across the diamond to make room for new acquisition Jed Lowrie at third, seemingly blocking Alonso’s best chance at playing time. Both men got hurt, opening up first base for Alonso, who won the job in camp and made the Mets’ Opening Day roster. The Mets have to be very happy with their decision after Alonso has done nothing but hit, setting up Frazier or Lowrie for a potential bench role when they return from the injured list.
Over his first four big league games, Alonso has already racked up seven hits in 17 at bats, including four for extra bases. Alonso, who has been batting in the two hole since Opening Day, leads the Mets with six RBI’s and has showed off his massive power potential with those extra base hits. The Mets also saw Alonso crush his first home run in last night’s victory over the Miami Marlins, a bomb to right center field that provided three huge insurance runs in the ninth inning.
Even though Alonso is sitting out tonight as part of a pre-planned start for Dominic Smith, the Mets clearly made the right decision by bringing up Alonso to start the year. Alonso’s bat clearly plays at the big league level right now, and he offers something that the Mets desperately need: right handed power. The Mets have plenty of left handed sluggers in their lineup, but the absences of Frazier and Yoenis Cespedes left the Mets a bit thin on the right side outside of Wilson Ramos. Alonso looks like he could fill that role for the Mets in a big way, and that has the potential to be a massive development for their season.
Once Lowrie and Frazier return, the odds are that Lowrie will start at third base with Frazier backing up both first and third. Lowrie should assume the two hole when he comes back, allowing the Mets to drop Alonso into more of an RBI position to lengthen the batting order. That should pay big dividends down the road, especially with the Mets needing to stack up as many wins as possible to keep pace in a brutally competitive National League East.
It’s hard to believe that two injuries in camp may have been the best thing to happen to the Mets, but it certainly could be the case if it led to Alonso getting onto the roster sooner rather than later. It is only four games, but Alonso has shown that his bat has the potential to be a huge difference maker in the Mets’ lineup, and those are the kinds of things that need to go right for a team looking to make a postseason run. The league will catch on to Alonso eventually and he will hit a slump or two, but early returns have been great for the Mets’ new first baseman.