The Mets’ Pete Alonso seems a certainty these days to be named the National League Rookie of the Year. San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr. may have something to say about that before the season’s over.
Alonso has 33 homers and 75 RBIs — far and away the highest numbers among rookies — after going 0-for-1 with three walks in Tuesday night’s 5-2 win over the Padres. He has commanded a spotlight in New York and captured a national audience by winning the Home Run Derby.
Tatis was 1-for-4 and is hitting .325 with 16 homers and 39 RBIs in 65 games compared to Alonso’s 99 games. Tatis missed 34 games with a hamstring strain and returned June 6.
“I think he already deserves it, but the season’s not over,” said Tatis, the 20-year-old son of the former Met. “So I’ll keep pushing, and whoever is best is going to win. But he has done a great job. He’s a great player. He’s a great hitter. He has shown a lot.”
Atlanta righthander Mike Soroka (10-2, 2.46 ERA) also has a real shot at the award.
Since Tatis returned, his numbers against Alonso’s compare well. For the season, Alonso has slashed .264/.363/.608. Tatis is slashing .325/.389/.595.
Asked if he could envision Tatis coming on to win the award, Padres manager Andy Green said, “I can’t see why not. He’s as impactful as anybody in the game right now. I don’t know where that ends up, but if his name is not considered, some people are missing some things.”
Mets manager Mickey Callaway called Tatis “young and talented” and said, “If you make a mistake, he’s going to hurt you.” But he answered a question comparing the two by saying “Pete!”
“Pete is first in everything,” he said. “It’s not just the numbers he is putting up, it’s the intangibles he brings to our team and leadership at a very young age. I think the numbers in the end speak for themselves, and Pete is dominant in every way.”
Tatis came from the White Sox in a 2017 trade and won the shortstop job this spring.
“We knew his power was real, we knew he’d defend the field and impact the game on the basepaths,” Green said. “He’s been really good in every capacity.”
Tatis was sidelined when the Mets played a May series in San Diego. He said he introduced himself to Alonso then. “I said hi and we talked a little bit,” Tatis said. “I said, ‘Keep pushing,’ and he said, ‘Let’s have a nice ride.’ ”
That it has been, for both of them.