The value of Pete Alonso and other early thoughts on the 2023 Mets
MIAMI — Some things have been pondered while wondering why the proofreading man keeps getting it wrong, and sometimes takes forever to let go of his misjudgment.
Pete Alonso may or may not be the Mets’ best all-rounder. But he has to be their most indispensable player.
Alonso was walked around his first two times on Saturday, which may have something to do with Marlins starter Edward Cabrera not having many early strike zone clues. Or maybe it was because Cabrera knew not to let Alonso beat him. Avoiding Alonso should be every pitcher’s goal against the Mets.
“I can’t worry if they try to avoid me,” Alonso said after his brace kicked off the Mets’ 6-2 win over the Marlins. “I just try to focus on getting a ball in my area, and if it’s in my area, I try to capitalize.”
Given his first chance of the day, Alonso drove a slider from left-handed Marlins reliever Andrew Nardi into the corner of left field to bring home his good friend Jeff McNeil and put the Mets ahead for good. He led the majors in the RBIs last year (tied with the incredible Aaron Judge) when he had a quality and diverse background, but no other bonafide punchers around him, and he’s maybe- being about to repeat in a similar situation.
Steve Cohen obviously came close to acquiring superstar Carlos Correa for $315 million before an ankle problem caused the Mets to call off that deal. So Alonso is back in the same place as the only true mid-range banger.
Alonso is known to be at his best in the Home Run Derbies, when the pitcher tries to serve it to him (former Mets coach Dave Jauss is the go-to specialist for that). But he’s perfectly skilled when pitchers do everything they can to make sure he doesn’t beat them either.
Starter Tylor Megill’s specialty appears to replace a legend. This time it was Cooperstown-bound Justin Verlander, who was knocked out with a low-level strain of the teres major (armpit area) muscle, and Megill earned his second-biggest win of his career, surviving a five solid rounds. . Last year, while replacing Cooperstown-bound Max Scherzer on opening day, Megill pitched five shutout innings in Washington, winning 5-1.
Megill denied that replacing a legend is his specialty. He said, “It’s not like I’m trying to fill his shoes, I’m just trying to fill his place.”
Brooks Raley is quite a weapon outside the bullpen. When the Mets acquired him in winter meetings, few noticed. Maybe it’s because superstars were coming off the board left and right — some to the Mets, who signed Verlander in meetings, and re-signed Brandon Nimmo right after meetings.
Either way, Raley looks outstanding for the Mets. I can see why they acquired it. And I can understand why they pulled him from the World Baseball Classic on the slightest suspicion of a hamstring issue.
If he was ever really hurt, he clearly isn’t now. He looked dominant in his first outing with the Mets, then came for the key on Saturday, prompting Jazz Chisholm Jr. to go to second base as a potential tying runner on the seventh.
“He comes in, throws punches and has multiple weapons,” Showalter said. “He’s a good addition for us.”
Frankly, it’s just nice to see the Mets employ a capable southpaw out of the bullpen after enduring the Joely Rodriguez era.
Maybe it’s time to start worrying about Eduardo Escobar, who had a .286 OPS in the spring and looks about the same at the start of the season.
“[The Mets] give up way too many outs before the game even starts,” one scout said.
The Mets are concerned about Escobar, but say they’ll give him more time. Really, there are few choices. Although MLB No. 21 prospect Brett Baty had a big game yesterday, he needs more seasoning. Only prodigies like Nolan Arenado and Manny Machado completely skip Triple-A. The likes of Ronald Acuna Jr., Yordan Alvarez and Kris Bryant all had hundreds of Triple-As at bat before they were called up.
I don’t understand the point of replays when they refuse to cancel bad calls. Marlins first baseman Garrett Cooper clearly looked out of the bag while reaching third baseman Jean Segura’s throw, appearing to allow Alonso to reach safely.
“I saw it that way too,” Showalter said. “This is another instance where I guess in their minds there wasn’t enough to overthrow him.”
The replay official somehow got stuck with the call out. It happened two days in a row. On Friday, Nimmo initially looked safe on a ground ball at shortstop, but after a lengthy delay, umpires announced the call would stand. It is to the point that one wonders if the replay officials do not want to offend the referees.
I like all the new rules. But here’s a rule they might consider: Cancel calls that are most likely wrong. Don’t be afraid to offend the referee. They know they’re just guessing on bang-bang games, anyway. Or should know.
New York Post