At the Yankees’ home and season opener on March 28, one of the loudest pregame ovations was for Luke Voit.
“It was awesome,” Voit said after hitting a 428-foot three-run home run off the glass overhanging Monument Park in his first at-bat of the season and getting serenaded with “Luuuuuke” chants as the Yankees beat the Orioles, 7-2.
At the Mets’ home opener on Thursday, one of the loudest pregame ovations was for Pete Alonso. The rookie also was given a standing ovation before his first career at-bat at Citi Field.
“That was really, really cool,” Alonso said after going 0-for-4 in the Mets’ 4-0 loss to the Nationals.
Voit and Alonso are more than just fan favorites for their clubs. They are cut-from-the-same-cloth young, beefy righthanded-hitting first basemen who had to overcome doubts, especially about their defense, and win jobs in spring training.
Voit and Alonso both are well aware of what the other is doing. Call it the fraternity of young, beefy righthanded-hitting first basemen who are trying to make it in New York.
“If he’s hitting, I tend to not change the channel,” Alonso said of the 6-3, 225-pound Voit. “He’s a fun hitter to watch. The only exception is if he’s playing against you.”
(The Yankees and Mets will play two two-game Subway Series this season, on June 10-11 in the Bronx and July 2-3 in Queens.)
“I knew he’s a big prospect, that he’s a big dude,” Voit said of the 6-3, 245-pound Alonso. “It’s kind of the same. I mean, he wasn’t guaranteed the job in spring training and he took it, kind of what I did with my opportunity. It’s super-similar.”
Alonso didn’t get a hit on Thursday, but he already had provided plenty of thrills during the Mets’ season-opening road trip. The 24-year-old hit his first Citi Field homer on Saturday, a 427-foot blast that helped kickstart the Mets’ eighth-inning rally. Alonso is hitting .367 with two home runs, eight RBIs and a 1.139 OPS.
Alonso’s first big-league home run was as prodigious as Voit’s shot on Opening Day. It was a 444-foot three-run blast to center at Marlins Park on Monday and caught Voit’s eye on the highlights.
“Good for him,” Voit said. “That’s pretty exciting for a bigger dude. I feel like first basemen as big-time prospects — there really aren’t a lot of them. It’s cool for a guy to get on the scene and just start doing it. He’s killing it. Better to start hot than 0-for-20.”
Voit, who has been used more as the designated hitter since Giancarlo Stanton went on the injured list on Monday, has struggled since Opening Day, but he did slug a three-run homer on Thursday in Baltimore. Overall, Voit, 28, was batting .167 with two homers, eight RBIs and a .772 OPS in seven games entering Saturday night. Both Voit and Alonso lead their team in RBIs.
The sluggers’ paths to the Opening Day roster were similar in that they had to win the job in spring training even though Alonso was a top prospect who hit 37 homers in the minors last season and Voit had a 1.095 OPS after being acquired from the Cardinals’ Triple-A team last July 28 in a deal for pitchers Chasen Shreve and Giovanny Gallegos.
Voit and Alonso happened to be in the same minor-league ballpark in Las Vegas when Voit got the word he had been traded.
“We were playing Memphis at home and then the trade happened and it’s like, ‘Oh, where’s Luke?’ “ Alonso said. “And it’s like, ‘Oh, he’s a Yankee.’ And then seeing him — he kind of went off in September — I was really happy for him.”
Voit and Alonso had interacted the night of the trade because Voit was coaching first base for Memphis (he was held out of the game, likely because of the impending trade).
“When I’m around first, I talk guys’ ears off,” Alonso said. “I don’t know him that well, but he seems like a respectable guy. If we’re in the city and we run into each other in the bagel shop, I’ll say, ‘What’s up?’ “
Voit Alonso tale of the tape for Sunday / Rieber
Pete Alonso Category Luke Voit
6-3 Height 6-3
245 Weight 225
24 Age 28
Tampa, Fla. Hometown Wildwood, Mo.
Mets 2nd round 2016 Drafted Royals 32nd round 2009
Polar Bear Nickname Meat