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Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso have combined their disparate skills to create something beautiful – The Denver Post

About 35 years ago, if a shortstop player made 99 runs and hit 25 home runs, he would be judged a wizard.

That’s exactly what Francisco Lindor has done this season, and with 11 games to go, the Mets’ drink-stirring straw will end the season with even better numbers. In 1987, MLB’s average shortstop slashed .258 / .315 / .365 (.680 OPS) with an 80 wRC+, meaning that as a collective shortstops were 20% worse than the league average hitter.

Going into Friday’s series opener in Oakland, Lindor flexes a slant line of .271/.344/.454 (.798 OPS) and 130 wRC+. With four more RBIs, he will break Carlos Guillen’s single-season record for runs driven by a switch-hitting shortstop. The evolution of the modern, slugging shortstop is one of the many changes that have swept through games in recent years, and Lindor is perhaps the best example of how a guy who hits like a corner fielder but fields like an inside midfielder are the most valuable type of player a team can have.

His partner in the cleaning place, meanwhile, is a type of baseball player who’s been around since the days of Ruth, Gehrig, and dudes with names like Urban Shocker and Lil Stoner. Mets six-three, 245-pound first baseman Pete Alonso has a familiar job description. His job every time he comes to home plate is to inflict pain on baseball. While Alonso has certainly become a much better all-around player in his four years in the big leagues, he isn’t much interested in hitting behind a runner or going first to third on a single.

Alonso’s job is to provide pyrotechnics. Home runs, RBI and slugging percentage will always be the foundation of his game, and this season all of those things have held up well. With 37 long balls, a National League-high 121 RBI, and a .507 hitting percentage that places him in the top 15 qualified hitters in MLB, Alonso carries the torch of traditional hitting. With the help of modern data, we also know that Alonso is literally able to hit the ball harder than most, making him a puncher in the truest sense of the word. The Polar Bear’s max out-speed puts him in the 98th percentile of MLB hitters, just a few ticks behind the Judge, Stanton and Vlad Jr. tier.

The Lindor and Alonso combination was the best in the league in terms of run production. They have already combined for 220 RBIs, the most of two teammates in the league. While players like Brandon Nimmo and Starling Marte deserve some credit there for constantly being on base for them, Lindor and Alonso have also created a symbiotic relationship between them.

Lindor, parked third in the lineup, gets many of his RBI chances from Nimmo and Marte. But with Alonso hitting after him, pitchers have no choice but to challenge Lindor, or they run the risk of giving him a free pass past a prolific power hitter. With more pitches to hit for Lindor, Alonso has a better chance of knocking him down.

His obscene strength also allows Alonso to drive himself all the time (37 times this season to be exact). But Lindor was the runner on 26 of Alonso’s 121 RBIs, the biggest chunk occupied by any of Alonso’s teammates. Having two of the game’s brightest stars hit back-to-back has resulted in clear advantages for the Mets, although the real beauty of the team lies in the constellation of players surrounding Lindor and Alonso. Money from Steve and Alex Cohen helped the Mets win Team Building 101, which still preaches the value of supporting homegrown players with proven outside talent.

The same happened in the starting rotation with the team adding Max Scherzer and Chris Bassitt to complement Jacob deGrom, as well as in the outfield, where Nimmo – the Mets’ 2011 first-round pick – was perfectly flanked by veteran free agents. Marte and Mark Canha.

But when historians look back at this year’s Mets, after analyzing narrative elements such as how they restored the organization’s skills, they will look at just how statistically dominant Lindor and Alonso were. Lindor leads the NL shortstops in FanGraphs’ version of Wins Above Replacement by nearly a comprehensive victory. His 6.7 paces the pack, while Atlanta’s Dansby Swanson is second at 5.8.

Alonso is in a close race with Arizona’s Christian Walker for most home runs by an NL first baseman, but Alonso has a great chance to finish the year as the only player in his positional group. with 30 home runs, a hitting percentage north of .500, and a strikeout rate under 20%. He already has the home run total, and with a .507 hitting percentage and 19.1K%, we see Alonso becoming a more complete hitter before our eyes. Strikeout percentage is a career low for him while his line drive percentage is at an all-time high.

It’s not quite Bash Brothers 2.0, but the Mets should have an equally charismatic duo amid their command for years to come. To use one of Buck Showalter’s favorite phrases, the two have been as advertised, and there’s no reason not to believe that both players will be wearing blue and orange for the rest of this decade. Lindor is already under contract through 2031, and with Alonso still two seasons away from unrestricted free agency and the sky-high salary he deserves, the Mets will almost surely come at him with a massive contract extension in a near future.

If the flashy shortstop, the fraternal group of starting pitchers, the closest transcendent and the rest of the merry band of Mets characters come together to win it all, it will only spur the adorable galoot to the first. goal to stay even longer.

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denverpost

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