Pete Alonso
Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Mets first baseman Pete Alonso is putting together an MVP-caliber season heading into the All-Star break.

The slugger is hitting at a .265/.339/.517 clip with an .857 OPS, 24 home runs, and 78 RBI. He’s a huge reason why the Mets have exceeded expectations and are atop the NL East, and his growth has been impressive. So much that Mets hitting coach Eric Chavez sees a little bit of a former teammate and Yankees star in Alonso.

“He’s slowly becoming a right-handed version of Jason Giambi,” Chavez told The Athletic. “There’s just aspects of what he’s doing now, it’s in his DNA. Jason did it for a really long time. That’s the difference. Guys do it for a long time and it’s year after year after year. Pete is just morphing into that elite hitter right before our eyes.”

Chavez played alongside Giambi with the Athletics from 1995-2001, and then again in 2009 when Giambi returned to Oakland after his time with the Yankees. Giambi was the AL MVP in 2000.

While Alonso isn’t the current betting favorite to win the NL MVP (thanks to how well Paul Goldschmidt is playing for the Cardinals), there’s still a ton of time left to make up ground. Anything can happen. An MVP for Alonso and October success for the Mets would make Queens a powerful destination for out-of-town players who might be seeking a change. Perfect timing, too, with Aaron Judge and Juan Soto potentially finding new teams next year (if not at this year’s trade deadline for the latter).

Alonso will attempt to join Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. as the only player to win three Home Run Derby titles on Monday night at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Alonso is going for a three-peat, as he won the 2019 and 2021 derbies (there was no competition in 2020 due to COVID-19).

Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.