The New York Mets and their fans haven’t had much to celebrate this season. They entered the all-star break 13.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the National League East with a record of 40-50. But despite their disappointing season thus far in 2019, the Mets have had some silver lining in the form of their two all-star infielders, Jeff McNeil, and Pete Alonso.
Alonso enjoyed a historic first half of the season at the plate for the Mets. And after expressing how much he’d love a spot in the 2019 MLB Home Run Derby, he went on to make the most of that spot by winning the event. Here’s a recap of Alonso’s incredible rookie season to date.
An incredible first half
Pete Alonso is tearing the cover off the ball as the Mets’ starting first baseman this season. The 24-year-old is tied with Cody Bellinger for second place in the major leagues in home runs with 30.
Those 30 home runs broke Bellinger’s 2017 record of home runs by a National League rookie at the all-star break. They also broke Darryl Strawberry’s record for home runs by a Mets rookie set at 26 back in 1983.
Alonso is also tied for third in the majors with Freddy Freeman in RBI with 68. He ranks in the top seven in baseball in slugging percentage (.634), OPS (1.006) and wins against replacement (4.0) to go along with 57 runs and a .280 batting average through his first 89 games.
A thrilling performance in the Home Run Derby
As the No. 2 seed in this year’s Home Run Derby, Pete Alonso had the opportunity to bat second in all three rounds, knowing exactly what he’d need to do to beat his opponent. He did it every time, but there were plenty of dramatic moments along the way.
In the first round, Alonso was pit against Carlos Santana, the representative of host city Cleveland’s team. Santana hit 13 home runs in the first round, a figure that seemed like it might have a chance to hold up before Alonso hit his 14th home run of the round with just 10 seconds left on the clock. The Mets rookie had to laugh off the boo-birds that came out with Santana’s elimination.
On a night in which Vladimir Guerrero and Joc Pederson stole the show with an epic battle for the ages, Pete Alonso still managed to have one of the coolest moments of the night. Facing Ronald Acuña Jr. in the second round and trailing by one home run, Alonso smacked a ball over the left field wall that cleared the fence with only three seconds left on the clock to tie.
As that ball was traveling out, Alonso instructed his pitching coach to quickly throw him another. With one second left on the clock, the Mets rookie hammered a 453-yard bomb to center field for a buzzer beater, moving on to the final with a 20-19 win.
Vlad Guerrero Jr. set Alonso’s highest bar of the competition yet with a 22-home run showing in the final, but Alonso was up to the task as he hit 23 home runs to win the Home Run Derby and the $1,000,000 first prize that came with it. This cash prize was nearly twice Alonso’s rookie salary of $555,000.
Pete Alonso is donating 10% of his winnings to charity, giving $50,000 to the Wounded Warriors Project to aid military veterans and $50,000 to the Tunnels to Towers Foundation that supports the families of first responders.
A bright future ahead
For a cherry on top of his amazing All-Star Weekend, Alonso performed well in the All-Star Game going 1-for-2 with 2 RBI and a stolen base for the National League in their 4-3 loss to the American League.
A second-round pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, Alonso has hit for both average and power as a prospect in the Mets’ minor league system. It’s probably a safe bet that not every season of his major league career will be as productive and impressive as this one, but this also doesn’t look like a flash in the pan; Pete Alonso appears to be the real deal.