MMO Exclusive: Peter Alonso After A Historic Season

The New York Mets selected first baseman Peter Alonso with their second round pick in 2016 from the University of Florida, and so far all he’s done is crush baseballs.

During his pro debut for the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2016, he hit .321/.382/.587 with 12 doubles and five home runs in only 30 games.

The 2017 season was much of the same for the slugging Alonso between the Advanced-A St. Lucie Mets and Double-A Binghamton Rumbles Ponies. In 393 combined plate appearances, he would slash .289/.359/.524 with 27 doubles, 18 homers and 63 RBI. Though, he did struggle mightily defensively with 19 errors in only 93 games.

Determined to improve his defense, the hard working Alonso went to the Fall Instructional League that is normally attended by draftees from that year and younger players coming stateside.

The work has paid off for him in 2018 with improved defense at first base, but that’s not why everyone is talking about the slugger. The 23-year-old had one of the best minor league seasons in Mets history with 31 doubles, 36 homers and 119 RBI. He hit .285/.395/.579 in 132 games between Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas.

Alonso was selected to play in the 2018 Futures Game and wowed the baseball world when he hit a home run that Statcast had never seen before with 113 mph exit velocity and 46 degree launch angle on his 415 foot bomb.

The right-handed hitter got another chance to bring his power to a national audience last week when he played in the Fall Stars Game (AFL All-Star), and yet again he didn’t disappoint. He hit a big homer off a 103 MPH fastball from Blue Jays prospect Nate Pearson. Alonso also showed off his improved defense in the game as well with this play.

Through 22 Arizona Fall League games, Alonso is hitting .232/.312/.463 while tying for the league lead with five homers and third with 17 RBI.     

MMO Schwartz: Hi Peter thank you so much for being so available for the interview.  Sorry that it’s such short notice.

Peter Alonso: Don’t worry about it! I’m open and willing to talk about whatever you got for me to shoot whenever you are ready.

MMO: How was the game today?

Alonso: Didn’t have the best game, went 0-for-3 with a hit by pitch, but that’s baseball and those things happen sometimes.

MMO: It’s a game of ups and downs.

Alonso: Absolutely, it’s a game of failure.

MMO: So you were drafted in the 2nd round of the 2016 MLB Draft.  How did you find out, where were you, and how did you celebrate that special moment?

Alonso: I was talking with my agent that night while I was watching the draft with my family when I first found out I was watching the TV and thankfully I had a chance to go home for the draft to be with my family and my girlfriend.  That was a really special moment that I got to share with them because at the time, we were in the playoffs for the NCAA tournament so it was a very hectic and stressful time but getting drafted 64th overall, 2nd round by the Mets, getting picked on the first day was one of the sweetest feelings I’ve felt in my life and I consider myself very lucky and it was a very extraordinary night.

MMO: How did you build a relationship with Justin Dunn, the player drafted by the Mets in the round before you?

Alonso: I and Justin didn’t actually know each other until we played in Brooklyn together. I knew Anthony Kay (first rounder in 2016) only because we played him the weekend before and I played summer ball with a couple of his teammates, but my first night when I landed in New York to play in Brooklyn, Justin got my number from somebody and called me, he said that I should come to hang out with them, they were playing pool two blocks down at place in Brooklyn. He is just a really cool guy because he made me feel super welcomed even though we didn’t know each other. It was pretty much my first day at work.

MMO: From my interview, I learned that he is a very unique and generous person.  

Alonso: He is a really good dude. He is one of my favorite people I’ve met in pro-ball so far.

MMO: What team did you follow as a kid?

Alonso: I followed a-lot of teams.  Being from Tampa, naturally, I followed the Rays, I followed the Yankees because their spring training campus is in Tampa, but I also followed the Mets because I had a super infatuation with Mike Piazza and how he played the game.

MMO: Which players do you try to emulate and which players do you try to idolize?

Alonso: Mike Piazza is such a great person and an amazing player.  He is absolutely incredible, he is the whole package. I like watching Paul Konerko and Paul Goldschmidt so those three guys are right-handed power hitters that just punish baseballs.

MMO: It’s funny that you mention Paul Goldschmidt because I compared you and him a little in an article.

Alonso: He is one of the best and he is a good guy to take after.

Photo By Logan Barer/MMO

MMO: What sports did you play as a kid?

Alonso: I played football, soccer, lacrosse, baseball, and a little basketball so I played a little bit of everything.

MMO: This is the third interview I’ve done and the third interview that the player said they played all sports so it appears that this is the way to create a good athlete.

Alonso: My favorites other than baseball were football and lacrosse. I just had a blast playing it and I feel that those two sports help me play baseball tremendously.

MMO: How did you choose baseball?

Alonso: My love for baseball is so much greater than all the other sports.  I love other sports but baseball is the one for me. I am super obsessed with the game.  I don’t just consider myself a player of the game I consider myself a fan of the game. I love the game of baseball.

MMO: You had a very impressive season this year arguably one of the best by a Met in minor league history.  What were your keys to success and were there any adjustments that you made from 2017 to 2018 other than rehabbing from the hand injury?

Alonso: The biggest adjustment was just staying consistent every day. This was my first full complete season from start to finish and it was nice to stay healthy the entirety of the season. I think that was the biggest key to my success because, without the games, I wouldn’t have been able to have the season that I had. I was very fortunate and happy that I could stay healthy for the full 142 games. Another factor was my self-motivation to try to make it to the big leagues. That’s a motivator for all players. You have a dream and hope that you can make it and be productive.

MMO: One of the coolest things that I thought from your season was to cap off the final game at Cashman Field you hit a walk-off homer. How special was that and how much did that mean to you on a personal level to hit that home run in the last game?

Alonso: It was a very special moment, the pitcher, Tyler Beede owned me when we played each other in college, and he got me a couple of times in pro-ball, and it was about time for me to get him back.  It was a good spot for it. So many great players played at Cashman Field, it has a ton of history. Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, there was an HR Derby there, I mean there have been a lot of crazy things baseball-wise that happened there.  That field has seen a lot of good players and a lot of good baseball and it’s a good way to send it off.

MMO: Last spring you had a one-on-one with Hall of Famer Mike Piazza.  How special was that and if you don’t mind, what did he tell you?

Alonso: It was really special and what I discovered is that me and him thought alike regarding our approach to pitchers and getting into the position to hit and staying connected throughout the swing, pretty much everything.  The main thing was that if we hit the ball hard enough, we are big and strong enough that we can make our own holes. If it’s hit hard enough no one is going to catch it.

Photo by Logan Barer/ MMO

MMO: You were chosen to play in the Futures Game this year. Congratulations on that it was very well deserved.  How much did that mean to you to know that the wanted you and can you tell us how amazing that home run that you hit was.  I loved the breathing technique!

Alonso: For me that was the biggest game I played this year so big stage, a lot of people in the stands, in order to slow your body down you have to take a couple of breaths at the plate that home run was so cool because it was a big moment and I got to do something special with my family and friends in the stands.  It was just a really fun day and an incredible atmosphere. I was just soaking it all in and having fun and enjoying it to the best of my ability.

MMO: As a player, how do you keep your emotions even-keeled? We all know that athletes are real people and fans don’t always take that into account.  

Alonso: Sometimes it’s hard to stay even-keeled because we have to produce to keep our job. Realistically, I just take pride in the hard work I put in and I take pride in my job.  I’m not lazy and pretty much put in the work, trust my ability, I do my best every day and I know that if I do my best all the results are going to be in my favor because you can’t think and look into it. You can’t be over meticulous with the details you just have to go in there every day and treat it like a new day and just give it your all and everything else will be fine.

MMO: In today’s game, the use of metrics and analytics is greater than ever. What are your thoughts on it, and do you use them?

Alonso: I don’t really take all the metrics into consideration but there’s a lot of information out there, a lot of it is too much and most of the stuff is just cool to look at, but for me I watch video on the opposing pitcher just so I know how his ball moves and how his arm works. That’s pretty much all I look at.

Photo by Logan Barer/MMO

MMO: You played with second-baseman Jeff McNeil. What is something that fans don’t know about him?

Alonso: I think I told someone else this but Jeff McNeil loves the Lizzy McGuire movie.  

MMO: Is it true his nickname is Squirrel?

Alonso: 100%, don’t let him tell you anything else!

MMO: Next year players weekend you’re going to have to make sure he wears Squirrel!

Alonso: I’ll have to make it happen somehow.

MMO: What other major leaguers do you talk to?

Alonso: I talked to David Wright because he was on rehab.  He was just an unreal guy and I just feel super lucky I got to play with him. He is a super awesome guy and it was great to see how his special day turned out in New York so it was awesome to see.  Super deserving.

MMO: Looks like you picked up right where you left off in the power department going from Las Vegas to the Fall League.  What is the biggest difference between both leagues?

Alonso: The PCL there is a lot of ex-major leaguers and guys who have been around the big leagues and they know a thing or to on the way the game is played.  It’s a very smart game, it’s very methodical and thought out, but here in the Fall League, it’s just your best stuff versus my best stuff. It’s definitely a little different but I’m enjoying it. It’s a fun league for sure.

MMO: And how awesome is it to play with the other Mets prospects like Andres Gimenez, Ali Sanchez and others?

Alonso: I played with all of them besides Gimenez, it’s been fun, it’s been awesome to be with these guys.  

Photo By Logan Barer/MMO

MMO: It’s always difficult when an organization has two of its top prospects at the same position. Do you and Dominic Smith talk to each other and what is that relationship like?

Alonso: I played with Dom for about a half a season, I liked playing with him and we talk a lot because we play the same position and he was kind of learning outfield along the way and we kind of bonded a little bit because we got time on the same team and I hope he plays well. No matter what position he is at, first base or outfield, I hope he plays well.  It’s one of those things that you don’t want to see a teammate fail you want to see him succeed. You want to see everyone in the big leagues, it’s cool and a dream come true. We all have the same dream about playing in the big leagues. As long as they are being successful its really cool because its a dream.

MMO: If you can send a message to Mets fans what would you say?

Alonso: I’m working hard and I want to win and I’m going to do whatever it takes to help the team win.  

MMO: How cool would it be if you and Justin Dunn come up the same day?

Alonso: That would be so cool. There would be a lot of happy tears. That’s for sure.

MMO: Not often does a player come up together with a good friend of theirs.  

Alonso: That would be really special if it were to happen. I know how hard Justin works and he cares so much so to have that happen for him and to be able to share that moment would be surreal.

MMO: Have you gotten upset on how long the organization is stalling to bring you up?

Alonso: I need to focus I my game and getting better every day and that’s one of the things that you need to stay even-keeled with.  You can’t let it affect you and you have to keep producing, staying in your lane and doing the best you can.

MMO: Thank you so much!

Alonso: No problem thank you for having me!

About Yehuda Schwartz 4 Articles
Yehuda has been a Mets fan since 2006. He is hoping to join an MLB front office one day. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter with the username @yaschwa30