Just like he has all season, Pete Alonso is giving Mets fans something to look forward to.
Though the playoff race was on the verge of ending for the Mets, Alonso on Wednesday night did draw closer to another two, very achievable milestones. His three-run home run in the second inning against the Marlins gave him 51 for the season, one shy of Aaron Judge’s major-league rookie home run record, with four more games to play. He’s also the major-league home run leader, two ahead of the Reds’ Eugenio Suarez, who also homered Wednesday. If he can keep that up, Alonso will be the first rookie in the modern era to hold the outright MLB home run title, according to Elias.
It was Alonso’s first homer since Sept. 20, when he had hit one in three straight games.
“It would mean a lot,” Alonso said of the rookie record Wednesday. “I think there’s a little over 19,000 major-league baseball players to ever play the game and to be the only one, that would be miraculous. It would mean the world. I can’t give you a certain word and I can’t give you a certain feeling because I don’t think it would fully set in right away. Even though it would be super incredibly amazing awesome.”
At 24, Alonso is also incredibly precocious. He’s one of only five players under the age of 25 to achieve 51 homers and at least 118 RBIs. The others are Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Ralph Kiner and Jimmie Foxx.
J.D. Davis prince of the Citi
In a season sometimes defined by the offseason moves that didn’t work out for the Mets, there was one very noticeable exception: J.D. Davis, who has taken quite a liking to his new home this year.
Going into the game against the Marlins Wednesday, Davis was also closing in a somewhat remarkable slice of trivia. His 1.075 single-season OPS at Citi Field is the highest of any Met ever at home, and his batting average at home this year —.359 — is the third-highest single-season average for any Met with a minimum of 200 plate appearances. Cleon Jones (.379) and Keith Hernandez (.366) are the top two.
Stats like those have certainly given Mickey Callaway plenty to think about — something that made his decision to sit Davis in a must-win game somewhat surprising. A natural infielder who has been somewhat shoehorned into leftfield, Davis has been the defensive odd man out, and with Jacob deGrom on the mound and looking to bolster his credentials for his second straight Cy Young Award, the Mets started Todd Frazier at third with Jeff McNeil in left and Brandon Nimmo in center.
“It’s tough,” said Callaway, who juggles Davis with Nimmo in the outfield and Frazier at third. “We can’t play all three of them. We understand that. So we just have to balance what are we going for that night. Tonight, I felt like Jacob deGrom deserves to have the best defense behind him as possible.”
Things might get easier, though. Nimmo will hit his first year of arbitration this season, but Frazier will be an unrestricted free agent and the Mets are not expected to re-sign him. Davis, who has compiled an overall slash line of .308/.370/.518 with 20 homers and 53 RBIs, will be under team control for two more years.
Dominic Smith (foot) took batting practice and ran the bases with a weighted vest Wednesday, but the Mets aren’t ready to give him the all-clear. A good report Thursday means the team will “consider” activating him, Callaway said. Smith hasn’t played in a game since July 26. “He hasn’t fielded a lot of baseballs off the bat, things like that,” Callaway said. “We’ll see how he comes in tomorrow and try to make the best decision we can.” . . . Marcus Stroman announced the start of his “HDMH Foundation” Wednesday, which stands for Height Doesn’t Measure Heart. The goal is to help young people “to follow their own dreams,” he tweeted.