All offseason, Mets fans heard all about the power of Pete Alonso, and even saw it in action a few times during spring training. His 113.8 MPH opposite-field double off the wall on Saturday was the first display of his raw power that we had really seen in the first few regular season games, and while that was cool, we were all still eagerly waiting to see Alonso crush his first homer into oblivion.
Last night, with the Mets already having taken the lead in the top of the ninth inning, Alonso stepped to the plate with two runners on base with a chance to add insurance runs, and then this happened:
Alonso finally blasted his first dinger, and boy did it live up to expectations. As if Keith Hernandez’s giddy laughs don’t say enough about how thoroughly eviscerated that baseball was, Statcast can quantify it for us. The exit velocity of that blast was a ridiculous 112.8 MPH, and it went 444 feet with a launch angle of just 21 degrees. If there was ever a such thing as a “frozen rope,” it’s probably that.
To put those numbers into context, it’s the 5th-longest home run of this young season. Before last night’s games, it would rank the 8th-hardest hit home run in the league through the first few days, and of the seven homers hit harder, only one of them—hit by Mitch Moreland—had a launch angle as low as 21 degrees.
In 2018, only 50 home runs were hit with an exit velocity as high at 112 MPH and a distance as far as 440 feet. Of those 50, only eight of them had launch angles of 21 degrees or lower, and all eight of them were hit by guys named Stanton, Trout, Sano, Trumbo, and Carlos Gonzalez. Four teams in baseball—the Braves, Reds, Indians, and Tigers—did not have a single home run hit as hard as 112.8 MPH all of last season.
For the Mets, this is a combination of exit velocity and raw power that the team simply has not seen consistently since Yoenis Cespedes played every day. Only four home runs hit by the Mets last year were longer than 444 feet. Two of those were hit by Michael Conforto, while one was hit by Brandon Nimmo, and the other one by Cespedes. Only one of those homers had a higher exit velocity than Alonso’s shot last night, and it was the one homer by Cespedes at 115.1 MPH in St. Louis early last season.
In fact, the Mets only had three balls hit as hard as 112.8 MPH all of last year, and Alonso has already reached that benchmark twice in four games. What’s more, since the advent of Statcast in 2015, the Mets have only hit five home runs harder than Alonso’s 112.8 MPH blast last night. Cespedes’s aforementioned shot last year leads the list, Michael Conforto is second with a 114.9 MPH homer in September 2015, and then Lucas Duda holds the last three spots with home runs from both 2015 and 2016. One of those Duda homers was actually the grand slam in the Mets’ 2015 division clincher, and that’s the only one of those five dingers with a lower launch angle than Alonso’s last night.
Speaking of Duda, it looks like, for the first time since his departure in 2017, the Mets once again have a Good first baseman who can crush baseballs at an elite level. How well Alonso can translate his prodigious power into consistent production remains to be seen, of course, but these first four games have proven that the burly first baseman has more raw power than any player the Mets have developed in quite some time.