You may have seen this week that Pete Alonso shattered a Mets rookie record for home runs before the All-Star break when he hit his 16th on Tuesday night at Citi Field.
“It’s really humbling,” Alonso said. “It’s really cool. All the success I’ve had, it justifies all the hard work I’ve put in to put myself in the position. Just really grateful and humbled. Really thankful that the Mets gave me a shot at the beginning of the year from the get-go. Without that opportunity, I wouldn’t be in this position where I’m at now.”
The old record was the 15 Ron Swoboda hit in 1965. The All-Star break this year isn’t until July 8, so Alonso has plenty of time to extend his record — as he did on Friday when he hit his 17th of the season.
Actually, calling Alonso’s achievement a “record” is a bit of a stretch. It’s just something somebody decided to keep track of and it illustrates how impressive Alonso’s rookie season has been — and how historic it can be if he keeps up this pace.
Alonso played in his 50th game on Friday. He hasn’t missed one yet. If he stays healthy and keeps hitting — especially home runs and extra base hits — he will smash not just the Mets’ full-season rookie records, but some of those of baseball as a whole.
Darryl Strawberry holds the Mets’ rookie home run record with 26 in 1983. The overall team record is the 41 hit by Todd Hundley in 1996 and matched by Carlos Beltran in 2006.
Alonso is on pace to hit 55 home runs (all stats going into Saturday). If he does, he will break Aaron Judge’s all-time rookie record of 52 home runs for the Yankees in 2017.
The previous rookie record was the 49 hit by Mark McGwire in 1987. Mets manager Mickey Callaway this week compared Alonso to McGwire, who finished his career with 583 home runs.
“He’s a great player,” Callaway said of Alonso. “You know, he’s a home run hitter. I haven’t been on a team with just a pure home run hitter in a long time. This guy is one of those. He’s like one of those throwback, Mark McGwire-type guys. I mean, it’s unbelievable, this kid. And he comes to play every day.”
Alonso is also on pace to break the Mets’ rookie records for at-bats, runs, hits, RBIs, total bases, slugging percentage and OPS.
He is on pace to obliterate the team rookie record for total bases, which is 230 by Ike Davis in 2010. Alonso is on pace for 350, which would break the team record of 334 set by David Wright in 2008.
Alonso is on pace for 123 RBIs; the Mets’ rookie record is 75 by Darry Strawberry in 1983 and the overall record is 124 by Mike Piazza in 1999 and Wright in 2008.
With a .600 slugging percentage, Alonso is also close to the team’s all-time mark of .614 set by Piazza in 2000. The rookie record is Strawberry’s .512 in 1983.
Alonso is already the favorite for the NL’s Rookie of the Year award, with his only competition at this point being a pair of pitchers. Among hitters, Alonso’s closest competitor in home runs and RBIs is Arizona’s Christian Walker, who has eight and 18, respectively. So no.
Two rookie pitchers are having outstanding seasons. Atlanta’s Mike Soroka is 5-1 with a 1.01 ERA in seven starts and San Diego’s Chris Paddack is 4-2 with a 1.93 ERA in nine starts.
Paddack, of course, verbally sparred with Alonso during the Mets’ recent visit to San Diego because Alonso was named NL Rookie of the Month for April and Paddack wasn’t. Who knew that was a thing?
A big factor in Alonso’s favor is both Paddack and Soroka are expected to be subject to innings limits by their clubs.
One large caveat to all this is that paces don’t always hold. For example, Swoboda’s previous record of 15 pre-All-Star break home runs doesn’t mean he finished with 30 in 1965.
Swoboda ended the year with 19 home runs. He never hit more than 13 in any of his eight other seasons and finished his career with 73 — a total which Alonso might match by this time next year.
Pete Alonso played in his 50th game on Friday. Here’s what Mets rookie records he’s on pace to break (stats going into Saturday):
Mets record Alonso’s Pace
Home runs Darry Strawberry (1983) 26 55
RBIs Darry Strawberry (1983) 75 123
Run Cleon Jones (1966) 74 104
Hits Ty Wigginton (2003) 146 149
Total bases Ike Davis (2010) 230 350
At-bats Ty Wigginton (2003) 573 583
Slugging PCT Darry Strawberry (1983) .512 . 600
OPS Steve Henderson (1977) .852 .937