The New York Mets’ most exciting player right now is first baseman Pete Alonso, who has taken baseball by storm over the first month and a half of the season. Entering last night’s game with the Washington Nationals, Alonso was batting .271 with 12 home runs and 32 RBI’s, leading the Mets in both of the latter categories. Alonso’s homers are often sights to behold, with his towering drives climbing up the StatCast leaderboards and rivaling blasts seen recently from guys like Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. Both of those men have won the Home Run Derby, and Alonso would like to take his shot at the crown, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports.
Speaking to reporters prior to the Mets’ opener in Washington on Tuesday, Alonso indicated he would love to participate in the Home Run Derby. The Derby will be in Cleveland this year, and even if Alonso doesn’t make the All Star team he can still earn an invite to the event. The winner of the Derby collects a million dollars in prize money, which is a nice incentive for a player making the league minimum like Alonso.
There is a bit of a cautionary tale to the Derby, however, as guys who participate often tend to struggle a bit right after the All Star Break. Judge, who won in 2017, started the second half very slowly before heating up right before the playoffs. The same happened back in 2006, when Mets’ third baseman David Wright got to the finals in Pittsburgh and started off the second half in a massive slump before finding his form down the stretch.
There is an urban legend that participating in the Derby can alter a player’s swing as they are aiming for power instead of just squaring up the ball, and that remains a valid concern with Alonso. Mets’ skipper Mickey Callaway isn’t concerned, telling reporters that it would be cool for Alonso to experience the Home Run Derby.
The odds that Alonso gets picked for the event are high since he is one of baseball’s most exciting young players and wants to participate. As long as Alonso is healthy in July, don’t be surprised if he is one of the few Mets to take part in the Derby. The last Met to participate was Wright back in 2013, when the All Star festivities were at Citi Field. Alonso could seek advice on the Derby from both him and Robinson Cano, who took part in a few Derbies as a member of the New York Yankees.