Peter Alonso may be the lynchpin for the 2019 Mets

Thanks to the wheeling and dealing of GM Brodie Van Wagenen, the Mets have plugged a lot of holes and seemingly improved in a number of areas. The roster is still taking shape but, so far, it looks quite a bit different than the one with which we ended the 2018 season.

The addition of Edwin Diaz and the return of Jeurys Familia should really solidify the backend of the bullpen and secure the late innings next season. The arrival of Robinson Cano, Wilson Ramos, Keon Broxton, J.D. Davis and Jed Lowrie adds some pop and balance to our lineup and bench, while the long and growing list of marginal pickups including Rajai Davis, Gregor Blanco, Luis Avilan, Kyle Dowdy, Walker Lockett, Sam Haggerty, Hector Santiago, Cody Bohanek, Rymer Liriano, Dilson Herrera, Dario Pizzano, Arquimedes Caminero and Ryan O’Rourke help add depth to the roster.

We entered the off-season with clear needs – a closer, an upgrade at catcher, depth and at least one impact bat. You could argue that Cano is the impact bat, but really until Yoenis Cepedes returns in late 2019 or even early 2020, there’s a gaping hole in our lineup where his big right-handed bat stood. With Manny Machado clearly out of our price range, there’s no free agent available who could fill those shoes. But there is one potential solution available in house – Peter Alonso.

The 24-year-old first baseman demonstrated in AAA and in the Arizona Fall League that he’s got some serious thunder in his bat. Unlike the over-hyped Dom Smith, he doesn’t have warning track power. Alonso’s go the potential to be a 40-home run slugger in the Major Leagues. The question is, will he start slowly and progress gradually like Amed Rosario or will he come on like a house on fire like Greg Jeffries? In recent years Aaron Judge, Cody Bellinger and Rhys Hoskins have shown that slugging first basemen can establish themselves as a cleanup hitter in their rookie year.

If, and this is a pretty big if, Alonso proves to be such a player, the Mets lineup goes from pretty good to very good. The lineup as constituted has balance and depth behind it on the bench. It has some good on-base guys and some good contact guys. From the right side, we have Broxton, Juan Lagares and Amed Rosario all providing little to no power. Todd Frazier and Ramos can hit home runs, but neither will be in the lineup every day.

As it looks now, Alonso probably starts the season in Syracuse to delay his service time clock with Frazier, Smith or one of the many other infielders holding down first base for a few weeks. Once he gets the call up, he may platoon with Smith or McNeil until he shows he can hit righties and lefties alike. He’ll probably bat sixth. By Memorial Day, if he proves himself, he could be the everyday first baseman batting cleanup. In that spot he’s be sandwiched by lefties Cano and Conforto, giving him great protection and the opportunity to thrive.

Until we get Cespedes back, this team needs a right-handed cleanup hitter and a better option than Ramos or Frazier might already be in a Mets uniform .A slugging Alonso could change the makeup of this lineup and the fortunes of this team.

18 comments for “Peter Alonso may be the lynchpin for the 2019 Mets

  1. Chris F
    January 18, 2019 at 10:12 am

    Im pretty sure its not fair to hang this on a guy who has never seen a major league AB. What happens when hes wearing the golden sombrero v Scherzer a few times? He needs to come up when he does, then have rookie expectations and nothing more. Big league pitching is a whole different beast.

    Im excited like everyone else, but would never brand a genuine rookie as a lynchpin.

  2. Steve S.
    January 18, 2019 at 10:40 am

    One good sign is that his minor-league splits last year suggest that he can hit both LHP and RHP.

    Against RHP: .285/.395/.587
    Against LHP: .283/.397/.559

  3. Pete from NJ
    January 18, 2019 at 11:59 am

    Very valid points written from everyone above.

    One added point is that 2019 is a win now year so even an iffy spring delays Alfonso’s presence in the big league. There’s too may other options at 1st base so that Peter’s star shines a bit less brightly at least in April.

    • MattyMets
      January 18, 2019 at 12:46 pm

      I just hope that Alonso is given a fair shot and isn’t jerked around the way Smith was. I know Smith reporting to camp out of shape two years ago and then arriving late to a meeting hurt his cause, but he wasn’t exactly set up to succeed the way he was yo-yo’d, platooned and then moved around. Not to mention the way Adrian Gonzalez was brought in and used ahead of him for too long. If this kid proves he belongs they need to give him a real shot. If he works out, man we’ve got ourselves a slugging first baseman for the next 7 years at least.

      • January 18, 2019 at 6:53 pm

        Matty…I’m going to disagree here. Guys need to bust doors down to get an everyday slot–Smith hasnt done that….not at Vegas…not in NY. He’s young…he can still make a go of it, but he’s a victim of Dominic Smith, Period.

        As for Alonzo…I’m going to worry less about his career and more about the Mets. When Alonzo is ready to Hit, He’ll play. It may involve waiting..I don’t care.

        Rosario is the Guy here who they asbsolutely need to “force”– in large part because they have no other choice, and because his “pedigree” is a bit higher.

        I like where they’re at. I’m hoping that the “missing outfielder” is something that’s on the way—or maybe they show us that they’re really smart, and that it’s already covered.

        • Chris F
          January 18, 2019 at 8:38 pm

          Eraff…that was pure gold.

          • TexasGusCC
            January 19, 2019 at 2:14 am

            +1

  4. Peter Cooper
    January 18, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    Let the kid develop and have more at bats in AAA. If he’s doing well and shows he can hit both righties and lefties,make the call. The Mets need another power bat. He may be the answer. Let him develop.

    • Chris F
      January 18, 2019 at 12:40 pm

      Totally agree. He has 258 AAA ABs. Im more than happy parking him there to see how well he continues.

    • Bob P
      January 18, 2019 at 12:59 pm

      I can see leaving him in AAA for a couple of weeks to get the extra year of service time. That’s just smart business. After that though, if he is hitting anywhere similar to what he did last year, he should be here. I don’t think he has anything more to prove in AAA and as Matt said there have been several players who have come up and were successful right away. No guarantees of course, but I think he should get the shot.

      • TexasGusCC
        January 19, 2019 at 2:15 am

        Bob, Alonso needs to cut down on the K’s and give the average that he has given in the past.

  5. Artie
    January 18, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    Mets encouraged Smith to hit for more power, that’s what 1Bmen have to do in 2019. They messed with him and it didn’t take. Maybe it will with another team or maybe he will be a 1B who hits 10-12 homers or maybe he’ll be a career 4A player.

  6. Artie
    January 18, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    Alonso,for better or worse, is one of the keys on this team. Can he bat 4th or fifth and be a power source, or will he hit 240, hit 15-20 homers and be a poor defender?

    • MattyMets
      January 18, 2019 at 3:09 pm

      Artie, if the latter is true than the Mets will be looking at Goldschmidt and other FA first baseman next off season. I’m more optimistic than that. As for Smith, I think the best hope is a change of scenery and he finds the right situation and the motivation to develop into a replacement level first baseman like James Loney. He could still make a career for himself but the chips have to fall the right way.

  7. Chris F
    January 18, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    Lets go back to another young slugger on the Mets. His name is Conforto. . He laughed his way through the minors, partly being a College player, but partly being a monster. Looked phenomenal in the Futures Game (anyone remember that throw?). Called up looked great, then that sweet lefty swing started seeing a lot, I mean a lot, of sliders in the dirt…and he started missing baseballs like crazy…and then he went back to AAA. And it was good for him and the team.

    Im just saying Alonso has a bright hitting future. HIs defense is a significant work in progress. He’s never had a major league at bat. And hitting a baseball is a damn hard thing to do.

  8. Mike Walczak
    January 18, 2019 at 6:56 pm

    26 HR 74 RBI .257 BA

    Darryl Strawberry – rookie year

  9. Metsense
    January 18, 2019 at 11:11 pm

    “I agree with Chris F. , Alonzo can’t be considered a linchpin with out having had one major league at-bat. Unless he has a monster Spring then he should start in Syracuse. Frazier should start in 1B and I hope McNeill (not Smith) spells Frazier. If Frazier steps up and earns his $9M salary then he should keep his job . If he does not then the next good performing candidate, be it Alonzo, McNeill, Davis or Smith should get an opportunity. Alonzo has his career in front of him and if his service time would delayed then in would benefit the Mets. When Alonzo does get promoted then he should be the every day first baseman. I look forward to his promotion.He may be the right handed power batter to supplement the lineup.

    • MattyMets
      January 19, 2019 at 9:16 am

      Assuming Alonso plays at least the first 3 weeks of the season in Syracuse there are several short term options:

      A) Frazier at first with Lowrie at third
      B) Dom Smith or JD Davis/Frazier platoon
      C) Cano at first with Lowrie at second
      D) Lowrie or McNeil at first
      E) Davis or Smith at first solo

      I’m thinking A or B depending on how Spring training goes. And I still think there is a good possibility Smith gets moved.

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