WASHINGTON — He was introduced Sunday at Nationals Park as Alonso Peter, a cringe-worthy moment on the brightest stage for a young prospect.
By the end of the Futures Game, however, the Mets’ Alonso was known as the man who broke Statcast. His spectacular home run had a combination of height and velocity greater than any other hit in the four-year history of the tracking tech.
The numbers don’t do it justice. Alonso’s blast measured 415 feet, traveled at 113.6 mph and had the unusual launch angle of 46 degrees, the kind of vapor trail usually created by high fly balls.
Those were the measurements. But to really appreciate Alonso’s home run, you had to witness it, in real time, as Alonso himself did as he hopped along the first-base line. The ball sailed higher than the leftfield foul pole, then sort of disappeared beyond the leftfield bleachers, presumably touching down on the concrete patio, a place that balls rarely, if ever, reach.
“Oh my God,” Alonso said. “It felt like a lightning bolt hit the tip of my bat. That was awesome.”
For those who wondered if Alonso’s power is legit, that the might he displayed at Double-A Binghamton was true, this was pretty convincing evidence. Alonso hit 15 homers in 65 games and had a gaudy 1.012 OPS for the Rumble Ponies, but the first baseman has struggled since his promotion to Triple-A Las Vegas, batting .190. Before showing up in D.C., though, he had back-to-back days with home runs, and he had the feeling that something might have clicked.
In the seventh inning, he got a center-cut, 95-mph fastball from Phillies prospect Adonis Medina and erased all doubt. He just had to watch to make sure.
Said Alonso, “I was praying, please stay fair, please stay fair . . . I just saw it stay fair, and I was just like, ‘Hell, yeah.’ ”
As he rounded second base, Alonso blew kisses to his family and friends seated behind the backstop. In the dugout, he was swarmed by incredulous U.S. teammates. Alonso later said he had never hit a ball like that. In a Futures Game featuring eight homers, his was the undisputed king.
“Everyone was hitting them, so I was just like, well, I just got to hit one farther,” Alonso said. “I think I did that.”
Earlier in the day, he talked about how he just needed to relax at Vegas, to realize it still was the same game at the next level, but he phrased it a little differently. “I feel like if I just be Pete Alonso and don’t try to do too much, I feel like I’m going to have a really good rest of the year,” he said.
The Nats PA announcer wouldn’t even let him be that, somehow reversing one of the easiest names on either roster. Standing on line with his teammates, Alonso grimaced upon hearing the words blaring throughout the stadium.
“I was so frustrated on that,” Alonso said. “Some people call me Alonzo with a z. They spell it wrong. Alfonzo, with Mets fans I understand because of Fonzie. But Alonso Peter? C’mon.”
He won’t have to worry about that anymore. Alonso said he’s looking forward to playing at Nats Park with the Mets — when, not if — and believes his power will carry over into the majors. If Sunday was any indication, he’s probably right.
Said Alonso, “I feel like everyone that hits a lot of home runs in the minors, it’s going to translate better because of the better backgrounds, better lights, and just an easier environment to hit, better field conditions.”
Notes & quotes: The Yankees’ Justus Sheffield allowed two runs in 1 1⁄3 innings, giving up a homer and striking out one. As for his name popping up in trade conversations, he’s trying to ignore the noise. “Every year, I’ve kind of played for a team that’s in the race or in the running,” said Sheffield, who has a 2.53 ERA and 8.8 K/9 ratio in 11 games (10 starts) for Triple-A Scranton. “The last couple weeks in July, that’s when things started getting a little heated up, but I just block it out and control what I can control, and that’s staying healthy and pitching.” . . . Mets prospect Andres Gimenez went 0-for-2.