After successful the Residence Run Derby, stroking extra homers than every other rookie in main league historical past and nonetheless lacking the playoffs, Pete Alonso, the Met identified to followers as Polar Bear, retreated from the town into hibernation in October.
One in every of his first stops was Yellowstone Nationwide Park. He pitched a tent and camped along with his fiancée, Haley Walsh, earlier than going residence to Florida, the place he went fishing. Final week, he packed his rifle and flew to Colorado, the place he went on a dream hunt. His mom, Michelle Alonso, acknowledged his must recharge.
“He went off the grid, again to nature,” she stated. “Mentally, he’s again.”
Alonso re-emerged Monday evening, when Main League Baseball introduced that he had received the Nationwide League Rookie of the 12 months Award. Alonso, 24, turned the sixth Met to be named the highest rookie in his class, becoming a member of his teammate Jacob deGrom, who received in 2014, Tom Seaver (1967), Jon Matlack (1972), Darryl Strawberry (1983) and Dwight Gooden (1984).
The Baseball Writers’ Affiliation of America introduced that Alonso had acquired 29 of 30 first place votes for the award, with Mike Soroka of the Atlanta Braves receiving the lone holdout. Soroka completed in second place, whereas Fernando Tatis Jr. of the San Diego Padres completed third.
“This 12 months has actually been simply such a whirlwind and mind-boggling,” Alonso stated on a convention name from his mother and father’ residence in Tampa. “The names of the nice gamers which are related to that caliber of season and that title of rookie of the 12 months, that’s some severe, severe elite firm.”
Yordan Alvarez of the Houston Astros received the American League award for rookie of the 12 months in a unanimous vote. An outfielder and designated hitter, Alvarez hit 27 homers and had an on-base proportion of .412 in 369 plate appearances.
DeGrom, who received the N.L. Cy Younger Award final 12 months, is once more a finalist for that award, which will likely be introduced on Wednesday.
Alonso’s efficiency got here in an erratic season for the Mets, who missed the playoffs for the third straight year regardless of excellent particular person performances. His 53 residence runs surpassed Aaron Choose’s rookie file of 52 for the Yankees in 2017, and he turned the primary rookie to steer the majors outright in homers. As a rookie in 1987, Mark McGwire hit 49 and shared the lead with the Cubs’ Andre Dawson.
As well as, Alonso led all rookies in games played (161), runs batted (120), on base proportion plus slugging (.941), slugging (.583), extra-base hits (85), runs scored (103), walks (72) and complete bases (348). Having majored in historical past on the College of Florida, Alonso expressed an appreciation for his place within the file ebook.
“I can’t consider a happier time in my life enjoying baseball,” he stated after the Mets’ season finale. “That’s the final. That’s what desires, for me, are manufactured from.”
Alonso is on the core of a younger lineup that the Mets’ new supervisor, Carlos Beltran, will inherit subsequent season, however his breakout campaign was somewhat delayed.
Regardless of hitting 36 residence runs as a Class AA and AAA minor leaguer in 2018, together with 119 runs batted in and a .975 O.P.S., Alonso didn’t obtain a call-up to the majors that September, when the Mets have been lengthy out of the playoff race. Alonso’s brokers made it identified publicly that Alonso was annoyed by the choice.
However Brodie Van Wagenen, who was employed because the Mets’ common supervisor shortly after that season, made a degree of assembly with Alonso on the Fall Stars Sport, a showcase of high prospects, in Arizona. To Alonso, the dialog that got here along with his order of lamb adobo was an “olive department” from the group.
Van Wagenen vowed that the Mets would give him each likelihood to show himself, and Alonso promised to drive the group’s hand, partly by bettering his protection at first base.
In his first spring coaching recreation, Alonso hit a house run on the primary pitch he noticed, and all through the spring outperformed Dominic Smith, a first-round draft choose by the Mets in 2013 who was the primary competitors at first base. Earlier than the ultimate exhibition recreation in Florida, Alonso ready for a way he would react to formally beginning his rookie 12 months within the majors.
“I’d cry if they provide me a thumbs up,” Alonso stated. “To get that, that’s surreal.”
Tears adopted when he acquired the official nod, and Alonso left little question that he was the perfect Met for the job. He proved to be an adept fielder, and teammates took to his earnest strategy within the clubhouse.
“Pete stored the identical perspective that he got here into spring coaching with by all the season,” Van Wagenen stated on the common managers’ conferences in Scottsdale, Ariz. “He was an excellent teammate and a real skilled. He was lightning within the bottle for all Mets followers.”
Nonetheless, Alonso maintained that he was not glad with private accomplishments when the group had missed the postseason. He additionally expects opponents to strategy him in a different way now that he’s a identified slugger. He stated that he needed to win a championship subsequent 12 months, in addition to a Gold Glove in some unspecified time in the future in his profession.
“I don’t wish to be a dinosaur,” Alonso stated. “I wish to maintain evolving and maintain maturing as a participant.”
Alonso has already began understanding once more. He’s additionally on the hunt for a marriage venue. No date has been set, however his mom stated he had declared subsequent October off limits.
“It may’t be,” he informed her. “I’ll be enjoying baseball.”
James Wagner contributed reporting.