Since debuting for the Mets in 2019, a year in which he set the all-time rookie home run record, earned Rookie of the Year honors, finished seventh in NL MVP voting, and was named a National League All-Star, Pete Alonso has been a star for the Mets, and the most consistent offensive force in their lineup. Nothing changed in 2022, as he hit a lot of majestic home runs, drove in a ton of runs, and generally brought good vibes to a team that had its most successful regular season in 16 years.
Alonso, who already owns the Mets’ record for home runs in a single season with 53, found himself setting another franchise high water mark for the Mets. The first baseman drove in 131 runs, surpassing the record shared by Mike Piazza (1999) and David Wright (2008). Whenever you find yourself mentioned in the same breath as Piazza and Wright, you know you’re doing something right. With his offensive prowess showing no signs of slowing down, it’s fair to wonder if any offensive record is safe—perhaps stolen bases and triples, but that’s about it.
In addition to leading the National League in RBI and in intentional walks (16), he hit 40 home runs for the second time in his career. In doing so, he became the first Met to hit 40 home runs in two separate seasons. In just four seasons, one of which was shortened, he has amassed 146 career home runs, putting him seventh among all hitters in franchise history. Next up: Carlos Beltran (149), followed by Dave Kingman (154). He find himself 106 home runs shy of Darryl Strawberry’s Mets’ record and, if these trends continue, he should easily reach that number, provided the Mets pony up and do what it takes to keep Alonso on the team long-term.
None of his home runs were more memorable or majestic than his 447 foot walk off blast against the Cardinals on May 19 at Citi Field. The home run, which led off the tenth inning, gave the Mets a series win and also produced a terrific basketball-themed celebration at home plate. He also had three multi-homer games, each of which, interestingly, came on the road: one in Philadelphia, one in Los Angeles, and one in Miami. Despite his proclivity for pulverizing baseballs, he fell short in his attempt to three-peat as Home Run Derby champion, falling to Julio Rodríguez in an earlier round of the derby, which was held at Dodgers Stadium.
PETE ALONSO WALK-OFF HOME RUN— SNY (@SNYtv) May 19, 2022
METS WIN!!!! pic.twitter.com/0RWLubhjqF
An underrated aspect of Alonso’s production on the field is his ability to actually stay on the field, which is an admirable and under-appreciated trait. He appeared in 160 games this year, side-stepping a potential scary injury when he was hit on the hand in a June game. The 160 games is the second most in his career, falling one game shy of his 2019 mark. Meanwhile, his 597 at-bats his at-bat total from his rookie season. He has only missed 16 games since coming into the league in 2019.
Alonso finished the year slashing .271/.352/.518, with that batting average representing a career best. His 143 wRC+, .869 OPS, and 4.0 fWAR were each third-best among NL first basemen. He also cut down on strikeouts, and his 18.7% K% was the lowest of his career. With 95 runs scored, he fell five runs shy of the second 100/100 (RBI/runs) season of his career.
He was named to the second All Star game of his career, walking in his lone plate appearance. He was also named a Silver Slugger finalist at first base, alongside Paul Goldschmidt, Matt Olson, Freddie Freeman and Christian Walker. After a close call in 2019, he finally made it to the playoffs and got his shot at the big stage, albeit briefly. He ended up hitting .300/.417/.600 and crushed the first postseason home run of his career in the team’s lone victory against the Padres in the middle game of the series. In the team’s final game of the season, he picked up the only hit they would register. If the Mets go on another long postseason drought—let’s hope that is not the case—at least Alonso will be an easier trivia answer to remember than Ty Kelly when asked “Who recorded the last Mets’ postseason hit?”
As the offseason approaches with the World Series winding down, the Mets have a lot of prominent free agents to worry about—Jacob deGrom, Edwin Díaz, Brandon Nimmo, and Chris Bassitt, just to name a few. Alonso is not on that list and is under team control for two more years before hitting free agency. However, with so many teams locking up their young, homegrown stars for the foreseeable future, the Mets will be under a microscope and expected to address the elephant—erm, polar bear?—in the room. And, really, the Mets have no excuse for not locking Alonso up long-term. Given the production he has shown since his debut in 2019, he figures to be a pivotal part of the team’s future.