Brooklyn Cyclones’ slugging first baseman Peter Alonso will miss the remainder of the 2016 season due to a broken right pinky finger. Alonso suffered the injury in Tuesday night’s home game, where in the third inning he was trying to avoid a tag at second base, and jammed his pinky while sliding into second safely for his 12th double on the season.
Although Alonso will miss the remaining few games the Cyclones have left on their schedule, he left an imprint on this season in only 30 games played.
Alonso, 21, is a brawny right-handed first baseman who was drafted in the 2nd round of this year’s MLB draft, 64th overall.
Before injuring himself in Tuesday’s game, he had a breakout game the night before at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium in Troy, New York, home of the Ti-City Valleycats. Alonso went 4 for 5 on the night, with three RBI and three runs scored, and was only missing a triple to complete the cycle.
With Alonso’s season coming to a close prematurely, his impressive stat line in only 30 games looks like this: .321/.382/.587 with five homers, 21 RBI, 20 runs scored, and 11 walks in 109 at-bats in the New York Penn League.
Alonso was selected 64th overall out of the University of Florida, where he played a huge part in leading the No. 1 overall national seed Gators to the College World Series. Although they lost an elimination game against Texas Tech at the end of June, Alonso and the Gators had a tremendous season, going 52-16 overall, and reaching 40 wins faster than any team in the college’s history.
For his part, Alonso played in 58 games, starting in 57 of them, and put up a line of .374/.469/.659 with 14 homers, and 60 RBI. He also had as many walks (31) as strikeouts (31).
Alonso also revealed his selflessness during the 2016 season, when on May 13 he was hit by a 96-mph fastball against Vanderbilt, fracturing his fifth metacarpal. There was thought of Alonso not returning this season, however, he knew his teammates needed him for their push to the CWS, and returned on June 3 in a win against Bethune-Cookman, going 3 for 4 with two homers and three RBI. Not a bad way to make a return from injury!
Alonso also returned just days before the 2016 MLB draft, potentially harming his draft status by returning too early from an injury.
Gators Head Coach Kevin O’ Sullivan knew that he had a special player on his team, especially once Alonso returned to the lineup sooner than expected.
“A lot of players might’ve quite honestly not rushed back,” coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “He’s been very selfless . . . It’s a story I’ll tell forever. Let’s do everything we can with our hand and get back to help our team win. He put his team first before the draft.” (Newsday)
In the eight ensuing games, Alonso went 16 for 32, with five homers and 13 RBI, and had multi-hit games in six of the eight games played.
Alonso had been playing first base for the Cyclones before he sustained the injury, and had been batting cleanup since he made his Brooklyn debut on July 9. He’s mashed against lefties to the tune of a 1.331 OPS in 44 at-bats, compared to his .721 OPS against righties in 65 at-bats. So there is still some fine-tuning needed for the six-foot-three masher.
And how about this for Met fans who have had to watch the big club’s ineptitude for hitting with RISP, Alonso has a line of .433/.441/.900 with three homers and 16 RBI in 30 at-bats with RISP.
Alonso has a great work ethic and is determined to keep improving both offensively and defensively. He was a third baseman in high school, but shifted across the diamond to first base once he suited up for the Gators, and has continued to work on his craft at first. But the young slugger knew the Mets had shown interest in him for several months, and said this when learning the Mets were keen to signing him.
“I had a meeting in May with one of their scouts and he said they were going to do everything they can to get me in the organization,” Alonso said. “I want to make it worth their while for believing in me and try to get better each day.” (NJ.com)
In the same article for NJ.com, he spoke on how he grew up watching Jose Reyes and David Wright, and has followed the Mets in recent years as they went from perennial losers to National League Champions in 2015. He also quipped that he was happy the Mets selected him in the draft, because he would not look forward to facing the Mets’ vaunted starting rotation.
Alonso was selected along with shortstop Colby Woodmansee, and RHP Harol Gonzalez to represent the Cyclones in the New York Penn League All Star game on August 16 in Hudson Valley. Another accomplishment to add to an already successful, yet busy year for the 21-year old prospect.
Alonso might take a similar path to the majors as Michael Conforto did back in 2015. It might not take much seasoning for him to be on the way to Queens, especially since he had three years of collegiate play like Conforto had (although Alonso had his 2015 season was cut short due to injury), but Alonso is certainly a player for fans to keep an eye on, and add to the growing list of the exciting youth that might make their mark sooner rather than later at Citi Field.
The Mets will have some options when it comes to first base for the future, as they have Lucas Duda returning from a stress fracture in his lower back, one in which has been slow to heal and resulted in an extra 30 days of rest for the slugger. He’s entering his final year of arbitration this offseason, and doesn’t stand to see a big bump in salary due to his limited play this year. The Mets also have top-prospect Dominic Smith raking in Double A Binghamton, and expect him to open 2017 with Triple A Las Vegas. Smith plays excellent defense and has a leg up on Alonso in that category, but Alonso’s offensive propensity makes him worth keeping an eye on, and gives the Mets another option as a potential impact player for their burgeoning future.
Here’s to a speedy recovery for the young Alonso, who showed a ton of promise in his first professional month of play. While the limited sample size needs to be taken with a grain of salt, Alonso has definitely put his name out there for all Met fans to be on the lookout for, and gives hope and promise that he can be a big league contributor in the not so distant future for the orange and blue.