pete alonso mets
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Despite their inconsistencies after the All-Star break, the Mets’ offense was among baseball’s best last season. New York’s 116 team wRC+ ranked third behind the Los Angeles Dodgers (119) and Toronto Blue Jays (117). There were many solid individual seasons at the plate in Queens, but first baseman Pete Alonso was the straw that stirred the drink.

That’ll happen when you’re the squad’s lone premier power threat and slug 40 homers with a franchise-record 131 RBI. While no Met hitter had ever driven in runs at his pace, Alonso is used to putting up gaudy numbers. It’s just that he arrived at his 2022 production in a different way.

Alonso is no stranger to big offensive numbers

While the first baseman had to wait until Opening Day in 2019 to make his big-league debut, Alonso immediately got to work at the dish. His 53 home runs were not only a Mets record, but they also broke the MLB rookie home run record. This was accompanied by 120 RBI, just barely missing the old single-season Mets record of 124.

After playing in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Alonso was right back to being the premier power threat in the middle of New York’s lineup. In addition to slugging another 37 home runs, he collected 94 RBI with a 133 wRC+ and 3.3 fWAR.

Of course, 2022 was his best overall body of work since that NL Rookie of the Year performance. Accompanied by those 40 homers and 131 RBI was a 143 wRC+ and 4.0 fWAR. As long as he sticks around in Flushing, Alonso’s assault on the Mets’ record books is probably just beginning.

Reaching similar heights in a different way

We’ve now seen Alonso play three full big-league seasons. The results have varied slightly along the way, but he’s hit two benchmarks every time. As long as Alonso is healthy for a full season, New York can pencil him in for at least 30 homers and 90 RBI.

But even with similar results, we know there’s more to the story upon digging at least one or two layers below the surface. For someone like Alonso, who is a run producer in the middle of the Mets’ lineup, he’ll always have ample opportunity to do damage with runners on base.

When comparing what he did in 2022 to what he’s done in his other two full seasons in those situations, this was his best work yet.

The right-handed slugger was well above-average in all aspects as a rookie, but he was best with the bases empty. He produced a 158 wRC+ in that situation. It went down to 125 with men on base and back up to 137 when men were in scoring position.

Alonso was once again at his best with the bases empty in 2021, evidenced by his 134 wRC+. However, he got slightly worse as the situation progressed (132 with runners on, 118 with runners in scoring position). He was still an above-average hitter, but that’s not the progression a manager wants from his run producer.

The 27-year-old flipped the script in 2022 by doing the complete opposite. With nobody on base, he posted a 128 wRC+ and .790 OPS. Those numbers jumped up to 158 and .950, respectively, with runners on base. They jumped once more to 187 and 1.099 with runners in scoring position.

As it became more likely for Alonso to drive in a run, he played up to the situation and made it happen more often than he ever had before in the majors.

What it means moving forward

As the Mets’ first baseman racks up big-league plate appearances and service time, he’s maturing as a hitter right in front of our eyes. And it’s not just performing better with runners in scoring position. Alonso is gaining wisdom of the strike zone.

After striking out at a 26.4% clip in 2019, that number has decreased each year. It settled in at a career-low 18.7% rate in 2022.

Alonso is finding ways to improve despite producing similar overall numbers along the way. As he approaches his age-28 campaign, this should be where we see his experience and talent meet in the middle for the prime of his career.

Who knows what kind of encore he has in store for 2023, but if healthy, he’s proven the numbers will be there. The Mets have never seen a homegrown position player produce at such a consistently high level in the power department. It could just be the beginning, too.

That’s also why New York should lock Alonso up to an extension this winter so there’s no chance of it ending when he’s due to hit free agency in two years.

Matt Musico can be reached at and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.