SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Pete Alonso’s historic season gained its final bullet-point accomplishment Monday night: National League Rookie of the Year.
In an expected landslide after one of the best rookie seasons in major-league history, Alonso was named the league’s top first-year player, receiving 29 out of 30 first-place votes and 148 points.
He beat out Braves pitcher Mike Soroka (82 points, one first-place vote) and Padres infielder Fernando Tatis Jr. (26 points).
The award was voted on before the postseason by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, which announced the results Monday.
“I’m just so happy that everything has come together the way it has,” said Alonso, who learned of his win at his parents’ home in Tampa, surrounded by family and friends. “This year has really been such a whirlwind and mind-boggling. The stuff that’s happened, the names of the great players that are associated with that caliber [of] season and that title of Rookie of the Year — that’s some serious, serious elite company.”
Alonso said he was not surprised that he did not receive every first-place vote.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s unanimous or not,” he said. “It’s still such a blessing. To have that title is unbelievable.”
A non-roster invitee to spring training, Alonso spent his first season in the big leagues establishing himself as a team leader, a fan favorite and a key piece of the Mets’ future while setting all sorts of major-league and franchise records. A sampling of his feats:
* His 53 homers led the majors, set a Mets single-season record and broke the major-league rookie record. Alonso became the first Met and first rookie to lead the majors outright in homers.
* His 348 total bases and 85 extra-base hits also were the most in a season in Mets history. His 120 RBIs were tied for the third-highest total in one year, behind only Mike Piazza in 1999 and David Wright in 2008 (124 each).
* His 120 RBIs and 103 runs made him the eighth Mets player to post a 100/100 season. It hadn’t happened since 2008, when Wright and Carlos Beltran — Alonso’s new manager — did it.
To contextualize Alonso’s statistical impressiveness, consider the Mets’ internal preseason projections. Team decision-makers figured that with something close to a best-case scenario, the Mets could get 40 home runs from the first-base position in 2019, general manager Brodie Van Wagenen recently told Newsday. But they thought that sum would come from some combination of the foursome who entered spring training competing for the job: Alonso, Dominic Smith, Todd Frazier and J.D. Davis.
The Mets led the majors with 54 homers from first basemen: 52 from Alonso and two from Smith. (Alonso’s other one came as a pinch hitter.)
“As it turned out, we were light with the 40 home runs,” Van Wagenen said. “And it all came from one guy, which is pretty remarkable.”
Along the way, Alonso — who hit .260 with a .358 OBP and .583 slugging percentage — endeared himself to the fan base with a genuine enthusiasm and energy and a willingness to speak his mind.
In July, right as the Mets were starting a hot streak that injected them into the wild-card race, Alonso posted to social media a pump-up letter to fans, which included a tweaked version of their “LGM” slogan for “Let’s go Mets.” In September, Alonso orchestrated the Mets’ wearing of 9/11 first responder tribute cleats, which required a degree of subversion after Major League Baseball told him the team couldn’t wear special hats.
Coming to camp as no sure thing to make the Opening Day roster, Alonso on his first day in Port St. Lucie spoke of wanting to “force someone’s hand.” He homered in his first exhibition at-bat — on the first pitch he saw — consistently received praise from then-manager Mickey Callaway for his defense and all-around game, and made it obvious that he was the Mets’ best option at first base.
Now what? Alonso said he wants to win the World Series and a Gold Glove.
When asked Monday at the GM meetings in Arizona about a potential long-term contract for Alonso, Van Wagenen noted that the industry norm is for extension talks not to start until January.
“We haven’t really thought that far ahead about what Pete’s financial situation will be next year,” Van Wagenen said, “other than the fact that he deserves everything he gets.”
Mets Rookie of the Year Winners
2019: Pete Alonso, 1B
2014: Jacob deGrom, P
1984: Dwight Gooden, P
1983: Darryl Strawberry, OF
1972: Jon Matlack, P
1967: Tom Seaver, P