Saturday, April 20, 2024

Reverse Polarity


The 2024 New York Mets. 0-5 in their first 5 games, 10-3 in their next 13. Never a dull moment.

It's just as well, because this is a season where the New York Mets aren't entirely sure where they fit into things. There's already a two horse race between Atlanta and Philly, the Nats and Marlins have decided to be mediocre, and the Mets...had a lot to decide. Obviously they weren't going to lead outright like they did when all the contracts first got here, but would they commit to being terrible? And as it happens, no. They're not. They've won 6 of their last 7 games, all against teams over .500, including a sweep of the Pirates, who had a stellar first week of the season. 

But then you look around at this team, and you see a lot of high-price-tag players that haven't committed. Francisco Lindor's still not hitting. Brandon Nimmo's only hitting .217, despite 15 RBIs. McNeil and Alvarez aren't hitting. The biggest overwhelming pitching standout might be Jose Butto, who the team isn't sure whether or not he's legit yet. This is a perfectly alright team with some perks and a lot of dead space, and they're somehow playing like a great team.

Sometimes all it takes is one guy doing what he's supposed to, and in Queens this year, that guy is Pete Alonso. Very famously nearing the end of his initial contract, probably gonna be one of the biggest free agents of 2025, he's gonna hit his 200th home run in a matter of days probably, and he's gotten 3 100+ RBIs years and 3 40+ homer years by 29. Not many people can hit like Pete Alonso, and not many people can do it without stopping to breathe like he can. 

I just did some math. There's only one season he hasn't hit over 35 homers, and that's the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, where he hit 16 homers in 57 games. Using the simple math of proportions, I can reason that if the season had been full, Alonso would have hit 43 home runs in 152 games, meaning he wouldn't have ever played a season where he hit lower than 35 home runs, and his career total would be 27 higher at this point. I'm saying this because people...don't hit as ferociously as Pete Alonso as much anymore. It's important that somebody like him exists, because even the big hitters have down seasons. So far, Pete Alonso hasn't had one.

To this point in 2024, Alonso already has 6 home runs and 10 RBIs, while hitting .261. He's unquestionably one of the top pieces of this lineup, and one of their best players right now. So having Alonso hot, and hitting for power, still puts a team like the Mets ahead of a lot of equally-stacked teams. He's the x-factor guy, the kind of hitter that not everybody has. And even if the Mets don't have a ton this year, that puts them ahead of a lot of teams.

I have no idea how the Mets' season will shake out, or if Alonso will want to come back by the end of it, but him being there makes it a lot easier for the Mets to stay relevant. If he's hitting like he has been, and if he keeps doing that, you won't be able to count this team out.

Coming Tonight: A hard-hitting catcher who's trying to keep his team from sliding off the edge any further.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, right now the Mets look like world-beaters. It's been exciting. Obviously they aren't going to keep winning at this pace, but I'm optimistic that they're a better team than I thought they'd be.