The New York Mets are surely looking forward to discovering the true potential of top prospect and MLB Pipeline’s 51st-ranked minor-leaguer in all of baseball, Peter Alonso this spring. But, as manager Mickey Callaway and general manager Brodie Van Wagenen both noted earlier in the week, the 24-year-old Florida native will have to prove his mettle.
“[Alonso] has to earn it, just like everybody else,” Callaway told Mike Puma of the New York Post. “I think that is the way we built this team and it’s going to drive players to be the best they can possibly be.”
Alonso, a University of Florida alum and the Mets’ second-round pick (64th overall) in the 2016 draft, did virtually all he could last year to earn himself a September call-up when rosters expanded.
Over 273 plate appearances at Double-A Binghamton, Alonso hit .314/.440/.573 with 15 homers, 52 runs batted in, a .445 weighted on-base average and 180 weighted runs created plus rating. After a June promotion to Triple-A Las Vegas, despite a slight drop in productivity, Alonso continued his torrid pace, slashing .260/.355/.585 with 21 dingers, 67 RBI, a .399 wOBA, and 139 wRC+ rating.
Although Alonso’s major-league debut wasn’t in the cards last season, team brass has made it very clear throughout the offseason that Peter Alonso would be afforded every opportunity in Spring Training to win the starting job at first base. Whether that dream becomes a reality on March 28 in Washington, DC remains to be seen, but that apparently hasn’t deterred Peter Alonso from doing all he can to realize it.
“[Being in camp] is definitely a different feel from last year because last year I was a non-roster invitee, same as this year, but I only had a couple of weeks experience in Double-A then got up to Triple-A last year,” Alonso told the Mets’ media corps (video via Anthony DiComo of MLB.com). “I kind of see the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak, so I’m just gonna work hard and see what happens.”
When asked about dealing with the pressures of knowing what’s at stake this spring, Alonso seemed to know that he can only do so much regarding that decision.
“Everyone has to go through that at some point in their career and I just need to relax and have fun and enjoy myself. We’re playing a game, you know?” Alonso said, before relaying some words of advice from Callaway and Van Wagenen heading into camp. “[They told me] I’m going to have a chance to compete for the Opening Day job and just play hard, have fun, and go get it.”
Quick reminder! For any fans down in Port St. Lucie this week, if you hear the sound of what you think are palm trees snapping in half, don’t be alarmed; that’s just the sound of baseballs being demolished as Peter Alonso takes batting practice. Onward and upward, Pete.