Pete Alonso is on the cusp of making serious bank – and he deserves every penny. We started hearing about his prodigious home run power when he was drafted in the 2nd Round of the 2016 Amateur Draft from the University of Florida. The number one overall pick that year? The Phillies drafted high school outfielder Mickey Moniak – whose only distinction so far in baseball is that he was traded for Noah Syndergaard. Moniak is currently in AAA with the Salt Lake Bees. The Mets #1 selection in 2016 was Justin Dunn – and then with their second selection that year they drafted Anthony Kay. Both are major league players – but neither has made an impact. So goes the baseball draft.
When Alonso played in the Futures Game in 2018 and he hit one out of the stadium, we knew we had something. Interestingly, he was called Peter Alonso in those days. It wasn’t until his rookie year that he corrected everyone – politely saying in an interview that his Dad was Peter: “I’m just Pete.” He won fans over that very day.
Alonso has dominated the game since he burst onto the scene in 2019. That year he won the Rookie of the Year and led the majors in home runs – breaking the all time record for a rookie. Since he started taking part in major league games, no one in the game has hit as many balls over the wall as Alonso. In just about 3 ½ years in the MLB, taking into account the COVID-shortened 2020 season, he has 156 home runs and 403 RBI’s – with an .890 OPS. His career OPS+ is 142 (league average is 100) and so far this year it is a ridiculous 185.
In 21 games this year, Alonso has 24 hits – 10 of them over the wall; he is batting .293 and leads the league with 23 RBI’s. He has 55 Total Bases – on a pace to exceed 400. Hank Aaron led the league in total bases eight times – only once with as many as 400. Astonishingly, Aaron led the league in this most underrated category six times in the eight years from 1956 to 1963.
Alonso is in his fifth year of major league service. (As an aside, the decision to place him on the major league roster at the beginning of the 2019 season was absolutely the right call – even if the Mets could have chiseled Alonso out of a year of eligibility.) Right now, the best power hitter in the game makes $14.5M. The smart thing for the Mets to do is to offer him an extension now – rather than wait for another year. This coming off-season Alonso will be entering his final year of arbitration eligibility – just one year from free agency. The market for players who hit free agency has been absurd. Last winter, Aaron Judge signed a 9 year $360M deal – a player with similar offensive skills but one who is not as durable as Alonso – and two years older. Alonso would be justified in looking for north of $400M on a 10-year deal.
Recent moves by the Mets have made it clear that they are building for the long term. Alonso would be the cornerstone of a core lineup that would last for at least five years. Here’s what they are constructing: Catcher: F. Alvarez (21); 1B: P. Alonso (28); 2B R. Mauricio (22); SS: F. Lindor (29); 3B: B. Baty (23); CF: B. Nimmo (30); OF: J. McNeil (31); DH/OF: M. Vientos (23). (I wrote a recent article about signing Juan Soto – which would cost an absolute packet – that would make the Mets odds on favorites every year for the foreseeable future.)
Mets fans’ savior, Steve Cohen, has made every effort to win favor with the Mets fan base by signing position players to long term deals and to committing to a sustainable winning franchise. This past off-season the team inked Nimmo and McNeil. What the team needs now is to develop good young pitching through the amateur draft. They can focus on that goal by locking down the best power hitter in the game to solidify a great lineup at the major league level.
Prediction: 10 years, $425M, starting in the 2024 season.