Mets Minors: Peter Alonso and going with your gut

If you look at the Mets options at first base the 2018 stats tell the story of a few different types of players but Peter Alonso’s stats jump out to fans.  Yet, let’s look at several options in the Mets system who showed similar stats in AAA.

Player AB AVG OBP SLG K 2B HR
Player A 333 .342 .406 .583 69 25 17
Player B 258 .260 .355 .585 78 19 21
Player C 337 .258 .328 .380 76 21 6

What makes us feel that Player B will be better than Player A? Why have we given up hope on Player C, who is younger than the other two? The answer is, because of “Our Guts”. My Gut tells me that Peter Alonso, Player B, will have a more successful run in AAA than Player A or Player C.

I pretend that the feeling comes from my brain. Afterall, Players A and C have played in the majors and failed already. Yet, it’s hard to say that I have evidence that Player B will succeed where they failed.

Player A, J.D. Davis, struck out less in the PCL and managed to hit for a higher average overall. Is Alonso’s edge in power and walks enough to make him succeed in the majors where Davis has failed or does Davis just need another chance?

Player C, Dominic Smith, was clearly worse in 2018 but his 2017 AAA numbers show a player with a .330/.386/.519 line. Smith’s defense and offense failed to impress in the majors but we shouldn’t forget that he was once touted by scouts as being a Plus player defensively. (An honor neither Alonso or Davis share)

Yet I, and many other Met pundits agree that Peter Alonso is the Mets best answer to first base since the departure of Lucas Duda and the collapse of Ike Davis. That’s our Guts telling our brains that there is some sort of magic something beyond the stats on the page that makes Alonso better. Even after writing this and looking at Davis/Alonso/Smith side by side I still feel sure that my favorite deserves to be there.

What else does my gut tell me? Well, it tells me that Alonso will not be breaking from Spring Training with the Mets. It tells me that the Mets are about to botch the Jacob deGrom contract by failing to extend him, it tells me that Yoenis Cespedes will not take a single major league at bat in 2019 and it tells me that the Mets will greatly regret the trade that brought in Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano.

Why do we trust our Guts? That’s a deeper philosophical question than I have time to answer.

6 comments for “Mets Minors: Peter Alonso and going with your gut

  1. Chris F
    February 18, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    The answer is easier, and more complicated. First, any baseball player has many many many more components to their life, even baseball life, than a half dozen metrics. You ascribe that to gut, but in reality, that leads to “second.” Second, our brains are phenomenal at gathering and synthesizing data that exists far beyond a column of numbers. It also says, as hyper semi-quantified the game is, a player and the game is not “fantasy.” We dont just use guts, but endless hours of scouting tells us things that are in fact real. Another way of doing this is to compare a physicist describe the arc of a hit ball, versus a player catching a hit ball. A physicist can give you all the numbers and equations, but a player who might not have ever taken high school physics still has a brain that makes all those calculations instinctively so that a catch can be made. I think “guts” is wildly underselling all the things you know but are not “metricized”.

    In Smith’s case, I miss the column for hunger/commitment/drive. This is a guy who never seems to be worried whether he makes it or not. This is a guy who slept through an alarm on a day he starts and needs to make an impression (I cant help but wonder how he even got to sleep?). This is a guy who has looked visibly stunned in the field at MLB game speed. Thats all real, and it frames our collective wisdom, so is more than “gut” which comes across as flippant.

    • TexasGusCC
      February 18, 2019 at 6:01 pm

      Great comment Chris, I wished it was longer.

      In truth, the affordability of the young guys like Alonso and Davis is a necessity. And, while Alonso is the charmed darling of the New York press, his high strikeout rate in AAA and a .260 batting average in Las Vegas doesn’t scream “I’m ready for the big time!” Their numbers actually show Davis to be closer to MLB ready. When Alonso was hitting .300+ with power, he was the uber-prospect we all craved. At .260 in Vegas, I don’t think he has the shine we look for.

      The luxury tax standing of the Mets for the year is almost $183MM, and not as low as we all think.

      https://www.spotrac.com/mlb/tax/

      Therefore, there isn’t as much room to extend all these pitchers. With JDG complaining and threatening a pitch limit, Thor “being open to an extension”, and Wheels being in his walk year, it may be prudent for the Mets to see who gives them the best bang for their buck, and trade off those that won’t. For example, Severino gave the Yankees a great deal, and Nola did to the Phillies, in order to get the contract sooner. DeGrom should be a bit more flexible.

      I love JDG, but he will be 32 when he’s going to be a free agent and I don’t know if I the should give him $31MM a year that his ego needs to be shown love.

      • Jennifer
        February 20, 2019 at 10:45 am

        Are you kidding? Jake wanted an extension as far back as 2016. The Wilpons created this uncomfortable at best situation and then put the cherry on top by hiring his agent as the gm. Now he won a Cy Young and fair-weathers finally realize how good ihe is, but throw him under the bus for even hinting concern over his future. Just classic Mets- isn’t this how they ruin relationships with star players?

        • February 20, 2019 at 10:52 am

          I agree with Jennifer. Jake has done things right and I would be terribly upset if the Mets did not give him the extension he deserves. Even with noting that age is always a concern.

    • Mike Walczak
      February 18, 2019 at 7:15 pm

      Dominic Smith has no motor.

  2. MattyMets
    February 18, 2019 at 4:36 pm

    1) Stats don’t mention versatility, which Davis gains value from.
    2) Stats don’t mention intangibles, where Smith seems to be lacking.
    3) these stats only cover AAA, where in the Mets case, they played in a stadium and league that inflated offensive numbers. Alonso hit the snot out of the ball in AA and in the Arizona fall league as well. Don Smith can’t boast that.

    Alonso could be the next Rhys Hoskins, contributing right away and carving out a place for himself in the middle of our lineup for years to come, or he could be another flop. Dom Smith May be a flop, or he could possibly surprise us. Davis could be a lucky lottery ticket. Hopefully between the 3 of them we find at least one big contributor.

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