PORT ST. LUCIE – Grapefruit League stats are often misleading, but the sound of the ball landing on Pete Alonso’s bat this spring is unmistakably real.
On a mission to stay disciplined at the plate and return to his rookie level in 2019, the Mets’ first baseman is “locked in,” according to manager Luis Rojas, and shows an initial level of consistency that was absent in his game. last season.
“I’m very happy with how my spring is going so far,” Alonso said before the Mets lost 4-2 to the Marlins on Friday at Clover Park. “I’ve made a lot of really good, quality changes and I’ve made some good plays on the defensive side of the ball. I’m just looking to keep progressing and prepare for the season. I know we have a long way to go ”.
To be exact, there are 14 exhibition games left before the Mets play their first game of the season on April 1 in Washington. Alonso, with a strong RBI double against the Marlins, has a 1.312 OPS this spring with two home runs. The double was extra sweet for the fans in attendance, all of whom won a “double stack” burger from a fast food chain.
Last season, a year after he broke a rookie record of 53 home runs, it wasn’t a disaster for Alonso, but in the 60-game sprint, his slow start got more pronounced. He finished with a .231 / .326 / .490 line, 16 home runs and 35 RBIs.
Now, the Mets are seeing him stick to a plan instead of playing when he has a bad turn or game.
“He’s not trying to figure out what might work,” Rojas said. “It seems that he already knows what works for him and he is just repeating, although if he fails in that at-bat he will come next time and you will see him repeating.
“It will get its release. He will kiss and just to see him [understand] you’re going to get outs, you don’t need to try harder, you just need to bring your focus to the plate and you’ll get results. He’s being consistent, so he definitely looks a lot more focused. “
When camp started, Alonso said he would know what kind of spring he was having if he could keep track of the number of pitches he had chased. He put that number at four heading into Friday, suggesting discipline within the strike zone.
“If you really did, maybe one or two more, but I think the number is four,” Alonso said.
“I feel like my progression is going very well at the moment and I’m extremely satisfied with how everything is going and I just want to continue in good form, good momentum. I just want to keep coming back and working diligently and sticking to my plan. “
Earlier in the week, the Mets renewed Alonso’s contract for $ 676,775, according to the Associated Press. That came after the two sides failed to reach an agreement, but since he is not yet eligible for arbitration, Alonso had no influence.
“Absolutely without bitterness,” said Alonso, whose teammate Jeff McNeil was also renewed. “Right now there is very little I can do because I am a zero to three player and this is one of those circumstances where I can exercise the only right that I have and I thought it would be better to exercise that right.”
Alonso, Francisco Lindor, Dominic Smith and Michael Conforto form the nucleus of a lineup that seems to compete with the majority in the National League.
“This is going to be a great year for us,” Alonso said. “We have such a talented lineup with the new hires and with that there are expectations of winning and for me I just want to be locked in and ready to go.”
To complete a recent exercise, the Mets celebrated on the field as if they had just won the World Series. Alonso was part of that session and considers it a dress rehearsal for October.
“You have to practice it if it’s going to happen, you know?” Alonso said. “Practicing it is a good thing because you think that way. You are preparing for it and that is a tangible way to prepare and think about moving forward, because that is the end goal. “