Let’s start with a bit of a comparison:
Player A: (Age 21)
● 186 Plate Appearances, 54 Hits, 16 Walks, 29 Strikeouts and a .851 OPS
Player B: (Age 21)
● 123 Plate Appearances, 35 Hits, 11 Walks, 22 Strikeouts and a .969 OPS
Player A you might know better as Michael Conforto, a player who reached the majors at age 22. Player B is Peter Alonso, the right-handed first baseman who was heads and tails above the other hitters on the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2016.
The draft profile on Alonso was similar to Conforto’s. Home run power, a few too many strikeouts and limited defensively. He played third base back in high school but seeing him in the field his future is either at first or at designated hitter. Also, like Conforto, his results in Brooklyn defied scouting.
He didn’t strike out to an unacceptable level, in fact, his strikeout rate wasn’t bad at all. His power was present but also displayed itself as more line drives than deep fly balls. He finished the brief season with 12 doubles, 1 triple and 5 home runs and, all of this, for the Cyclones.
Back in 2015, Conforto was assigned to Port St. Lucie and promoted, mid-season, to Binghamton and earned his way into the majors on the back of a .899 OPS. We can’t expect the same to happen with Alonso, but the possibility is there.
Other Potential Breakout Players:
Thomas Szapucki, SP: Can we bank on a breakout year after a breakout year? Depends. For those of you who are not yet excited about Szapucki, prepare to be.
Desmond Lindsay, OF: The Mets are hoping that Lindsay can start to gain steam as he progresses in 2017. The Mets would like to establish a firmer timeline on when he might contribute at the major league level.
Wuilmer Becerra, OF: Becerra was hitting everything in 2016 and then he got hurt. Look for a healthy Becerra trying to make up for lost time.
Patrick Mazeicka, C: Injuries combined with the SAL held Mazeicka’s numbers to more normal levels. In 2017 he should be healthy and graduating to the FSL. I expect a boost in his offensive output.
Marcos Molina, SP: Injured for nearly all of 2016, Molina got a lot of time in spring training. The Mets seem ready to promote this young pitcher aggressively.