What a difference a year makes.

This time in 2020, Mets fans thought the world revolved around Pete Alonso. Now there’s a portion of the fan base – 10%? 15%? 20%? – who advocate trading Alonso to play Dominic Smith at first base. Before we discuss that craziness, let’s see what the computer models are forecasting for Alonso.

ATC – 621 PA, .246/.340/.517, 40 HR, 101 RBIs
Marcel – 592 PA, .250/.347/.526, 39 HR, 93 RBIs
RotoCh – 616 PA, .252/.349/.544, 44 HR, 108 RBIs
Steamer – 634 PA, .242/.338/.515, 41 HR, 102 RBIs
THE BAT – 668 PA, .250/.342/.512, 41 HR, 107 RBIs
ZiPS – 616 PA, .246/.339/.524, 41 HR, 110 RBIs

For the most part, the models see very similar outcomes. THE BAT is the outlier with PA, while RotoChamp is the most bullish on SLG. But most of the others feel interchangeable, especially in the OBP department. Essentially, the computers see him as a .250 hitter with 40 HR. Everyone loved Alonso when he hit .260 with 53 HR in 2019. Should a drop of 10 points in AVG and 13 HR make him a serious trade candidate?

Let’s start with a few givens. Smith is really good, deserves to play and he’s likely to be better defensively than Alonso at first base. And those who advocate for trading Alonso aren’t suggesting giving him away for free, even if they are ready to deal him for 60 cents on the dollar.

But Smith can fake it in left field for a year. After that, it seems inevitable that the National League will adopt the DH and there’s room for both in the lineup. Even if that doesn’t happen, playing both Alonso and Smith in 2021 allows everyone to see if the former can bounce back to 2019 levels and if the latter can produce in a full season the way he did in partial years in 2019 and 2018. Maybe Smith’s trade value is never higher than it is now. It’s also possible that Alonso’s will never be lower.

One of the challenges that everyone from fantasy baseball enthusiasts to armchair GMs to front office executives has to deal with is how to interpret numbers put up in the wacky and shortened 2020 campaign. The stops and starts were bad enough but the 60-game season makes everything difficult to gauge.

Alonso had a tough start to the second half of 2019 but has enough time to not only recover but to thrive. He struggled in the beginning of 2020 and there wasn’t enough of a season to absorb the damage. In his last 39 games, Alonso had a .902 OPS despite a .229 BABIP. It just couldn’t make up for the .632 OPS he posted in his first 18 games of the season.

In his rookie year, Alonso had a .941 OPS. His closing kick to 2020 also had an OPS over .900 yet none of the six models above forecast that type of season. RotoChamp comes close with an .893 mark but the others have him in the .860 range, which comes close to splitting the difference between his 2019 mark and his 2020 output.

Because of the type of hitter he is, Alonso is unlikely to ever challenge the .368 BABIP that Smith put up in 2020. He might not ever post a .310 mark, either. But the .280 rate he put up in 2019 should be within his grasp. If Alonso can post a .902 OPS with a .229 BABIP – what would his overall numbers look like if the hits fell in at a reasonable rate? Here’s my totally biased prediction for Alonso:

663 PA, .255/.352/.575, 46 HR, 115 RBIs

If Alonso does put up those types of numbers, it should result in an OPS+ near the 147 mark that he put up in 2019. That’s also the same number that former Reds star Lee May put up in 1971. In the offseason before 1972, May was traded in a blockbuster that netted the team Joe Morgan. If the Mets do decide to trade Alonso, that’s the ballpark return that they would need.

You’ll have more credibility if you chime in now with what you think Alonso will do this season.

12 comments on “Mets 2021 projections: Pete Alonso

  • Steve_S.

    630 PA, .255/.355/.555, 42 HR, 110 RBIs

    • Lorraine

      Why, I paid the ten dollars

  • TexasGusCC

    Craziness huh? So, as a one tool player he’s more valuable than a young pitcher? Say Colorado offers Marquez… say Cleveland is willing to offer Plesac… why is it craziness? Pete may become a very good player, but that’s what we say about all young players. With his defense and bad two strike approach, he isn’t as big a deal when the ball doesn’t leave the yard. Also, how do you explain his numbers from ALl Star Break 1999 until today?

    Alonso is an ideal #6 hitter. The DP’s and strikeouts don’t hurt as much and the HR will clean up whatever the middle of the order didn’t.

    • Brian Joura

      There’s a word for trading a pre-arb guy with a 4.8 fWAR under his belt in exchange for a guy with a 4.44 FIP and a 4.55 xFIP like Zach Plesac. The word’s right on the tip of my tongue, give me a second to come up with it.

  • Woodrow

    240,42 hrs,95 rbis
    Big first half,All Star

  • Wobbit

    Pete is a generational talent. He had a prolonged cold period in 2020, but he was clearly flying upward when the season ended. Given a full 162, I dare say he would have reached similar numbers as his rookie year, with maybe 45 HRs minimum. I saw his coldness exacerbated by two things:
    1. his erratic position in the lineup. I do think he’s an old-school kid who would probably benefit from a steady place in the batting order (4, 5, even 6), and a decent hitter behind him for protection. He should never hit #2 again… don’t fall for the stupid Aaron Judge syndrome.
    2. He did not like the DH… again his old school nature. And I do not blame him… as a young player, he does not want to see his value pigeonholed into a DH. No one grows up dreaming of becoming a DH. The end of his cold streak coincided with his playing the field more regularly (look it up). His defense ain’t that bad and will continue improve. Keep the pressure off him and let his talent blossom.
    I like Dom, too. But Pete is truly someone who has years of off-the-chart production ahead. He’s a David Wright type Met… a face of the franchise. I’m hoping they find a way to balance him and Dom in the year ahead.

    .268/.340./.545/48HRs/100RBI

  • MikeW

    MLB changed the makeup of the ball for 2021. It will be lighter and “less springy”. Let’s see if there are fewer home runs hit in MLB this year.

    I think we should keep both for now, unless, there is a deal that we can’t refuse. I would be wary of trading either one right now. Pete could put up anywhere from 38 to 50 home runs. If he puts up 50, what would his value be with 50 plus home runs in the last two full seasons?

    .265 45 Home Runs 105 RBI

  • Footballhead

    515 PA .235 AVG 28 HR 63 RBI

    Somebody on this offense will under perform this year, so I’m picking the Polar Bear.

    Of course, I hope I’m dead wrong and he’ll end up closer to what Brian predicts.

  • Metsense

    642 PA , .252/.350/.559, 47 HR, 106 RBI’s

    There was a chink in his armor last year when he started acting up when he wasn’t hitting but to his credit he corrected his inappropriate behavior before he started hitting again. Alonso it not an untouchable in trade but it would have to be an equitable trade that improves the team in other areas and not just for one year but for the next 3-4 years.

  • Wobbit

    Pete is Babe Ruth. Would you trade Babe Ruth? How did that work out for the Red Sox?

    What could one possibly consider getting in a trade that would be worth 45 HRs a year for the next 10-15 years. Trade Henry Aaron?

    I’ll take whatever Pete brings along with the incredible power in his bat. Great kid, rare rare talent… so lucky to have him.

    • BobP

      Wobbit, I like a lot of your posts, and I love Pete but comparing him to Babe Ruth and Henry Aaron is completely ridiculous.

    • Metsense

      I would trade Pete Alsonso for Matt Chapman and his 8.3WAR but Billy Beane would make me throw in another player. The chick’s love the long ball but GM’s like the complete player.
      Babe Ruth 324/474/690/1.164 206 OPS+
      Henry Aaron 305/374/555/928. 155 OPS+
      Pete is good but he was 41st in fWAR for 2019-2020 seasons combined. We would be lucky to have Chapman for him.

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