Pete Alonso has had a historic year for the New York Mets. Should he be named National League Rookie of the Year?
Fans of the New York Mets already feel that Pete Alonso should be named National League Baseball’s Rookie of the Year for the 2019 season. For most of the year, this seemed to be a foregone conclusion but the San Diego Padres have a rookie of their own making waves through the National League.
Fernando Tatis Jr. came into 2019 as MLB Pipeline’s No. 2 ranked prospect and has lived up to every expectation. Alonso had a different path to the forefront, but he has been better than Mets’ fans could have ever hoped. Let’s dive into why I believe that Pete Alonso is deserving of the 2019 National League Rookie of the Year Award.
Pete Alonso has been a revelation for the Amazins’. The powerful righty impressed early with his mammoth home runs, leadership skills, and surprisingly adequate defensive prowess. The New York Mets have never had a slugger like Pete, as the righty quickly passed the Mets’ rookie home run record on June 23rd.
Alonso was rewarded for a stellar first half of the season with a selection to the All-Star team and Home Run Derby, which he subsequently won. Going into play on Tuesday, Alonso led all rookies in home runs (38), RBIs (85), hits (109) and runs (71) and he is currently one home run away from tying the National League rookie home run record of 39, set by Cody Bellinger in 2017.
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The powerful youngster is on pace to easily pass the Mets single-season home run record (41), which is held by Todd Hundley and Carlos Beltran. Alonso is also a serious threat to Aaron Judge‘s Major League rookie home run record (52), which was also set in 2017.
In a normal season, it would be easy to say that the NL Rookie of the Year Award is safely within the grasps of Pete Alonso, but Fernando Tatis Jr.’s recent play will seemingly make for a tight race down the stretch of the season.
MLB.com recently asked their writers to rank their top three selections for Rookie of the Year. This poll saw Alonso slightly outlasting Tatis Jr., even though Tatis Jr. received more first-place votes. Alonso possesses a clear lead in the pure offensive counting numbers while Tatis Jr. wows with all aspects of his game. The 20-year-old shortstop is a five-tool player that will likely finish the season with 30+ home runs, an average well above .300, 20+ stolen bases and a catalog of impressive defensive highlights.
From an analytical standpoint, Tatis Jr. has a slight edge as he goes into Tuesday with a 4.2 bWAR, which is slightly higher than Alonso’s bWAR of 3.8. Tatis Jr. has put up these numbers in 34 fewer games (83) than Alonso (117), which is truly impressive. This should not hurt Alonso’s case as he has been the biggest bat in a competitive lineup throughout the entirety of the season. Producing in pressure situations is a valuable trait. Playing in meaningful games (especially in New York City, just ask Edwin Diaz) is a whole lot harder than finishing out a year of development on a young team. Alonso should be awarded for this!
As you can see, the race will be tight as both players are having tremendous rookie campaigns. In the end, if the New York Mets remain competitive, I believe that it will be hard to give the award to anyone other than Pete Alonso. Tatis Jr. is having an elite rookie season, but Alonso is having a historic season amid a surprising playoff push.
Tatis Jr. is an extremely highly touted prospect living up to expectations, while Alonso is surpassing expectations while also breaking records set by Hall of Famer’s (Frank Robinson), likely MVP’s (Cody Bellinger) and New York Elite (Aaron Judge, Carlos Beltran). Pete Alonso should be rewarded for this, especially if he is able to pass Aaron Judge’s rookie record of 52 home runs. Voters should also take Alonso’s leadership into account, as he has been a confident leader in the clubhouse while also successfully connecting to Mets’ fans (LFGM).
Pete Alonso and Fernando Tatis Jr. are both having excellent rookie seasons, but I believe that Alonso’s impressive overall resume should warrant National League Rookie of the Year honors. Both these players are exciting pieces to a talented rookie class and I would not be surprised if both contend for the National League MVP Award in the near future.