Spring Training has begun, questions loom and hungry upstarts fight for a spot. Tim Tebow has intrigued the public eye, but his presence is unrealistic in April. Granted, Tebow could be promoted when rosters expand in September. His defense is mediocre at best, but his bat has fans giddy. One can imagine crucial pinch-hit scenarios, where Tebow could be called upon. He certainly has the pop in his bat, but unfortunately the DH is an AL luxury. Tim Tebow is one determined man, nobody should count him out. The more feasible, potential slugger is Peter Alonso. He almost eclipsed 40 home runs in the minors last year. Not to mention driving in an insane 119. Alonso has been named a top 50 prospect to watch.
(Alonso with the AAA-Affiliate Las Vegas 51’s)
Sorry Todd Frazier fanatics, he will not suffice as an everyday player. The “Todd-Father” is a well needed veteran presence, that still can hit in clutch scenarios. His leather is fairly solid as well, but he’s just a platoon player. With RISP, Frazier can be trusted and he’s a fan favorite. Peter Alonso can flat out rake and may become a premier MLB first baseman. The ball flies off his bat, just like the first pitch he saw in Spring Training. Alonso crushed a fastball to dead center, showcasing his potential. Let me say that again, the very first pitch he encountered…
His homer was a statement, Alonso is hungry. He wants to make the opening day roster and start. With Dominic Smith looking mediocre compared to Alonso, it’s likely. Alonso destroys fastballs, but has been noted to have trouble with the breaking ball. With Bryce Harper looking more and more likely to join the Phillies, a surprise breakout is imperative. Alonso has been praised for his almost insatiable work ethic and he has the right attitude.
On the Defensive side of the ball, The Mets look to control most games. The independent variable is truly the feasibility of their lineup. With Cespedes injured, they are most certainly missing a true slugger. Yoenis has that unteachable, “God-given” combination of bat speed and raw power. The ball flies off his bat like a Scud missile. Alonso is showing flashes of similar traits. Forty dingers in the minors is an eye opener, even if it’s AAA. The kid needs to make the team, get AB’s, and adjust to breaking balls. In a quintessential world, Alonso could occupy the five or six hole. As we speak, Alonso has ripped another double off the Astros. Hitting behind Ramos, a multi-faceted player and quite a pick up. The catcher is a lock-down defender, he’s nimble behind the plate, and controls the running game. Change of scenery seems to suit Ramos as well. Prior to being traded to the Phil’s last year, he caught 7 out of 25 players stealing. In the 23 games in Philly, only 2 out of 9 runners stole successively. On the batting side, he hit a solid .309 all year, drove in 70, and garnered 32 walks. Alonso’s success is correlated to the lineup around him. He needs to be pitched to, with formidable former and latter batters. If so, The Mets may have the rookie of the year on their roster.
Lastly, Ahmed Rosario needs to continue his torrid second half of last season. He almost stole thirty bases, which the Mets desperately need. Putting him in the nine-hole may be tempting, if his prowess on the base paths keeps improving. Benchmarks for him should be thirty to forty stolen bases, eighty runs scored, and reliable defense. He has had issues reading a pitchers motion, but has shown improvement. The long ball won’t always win it, so disrupting the opposing team’s equilibrium is a must. Small ball, savvy base-running, and timely hitting is the equation for success.
(SS Ahmed Rosario)
In an NL East, that is more wide open than the Grand Canyon, The Mets have to be on point. There is little room for mental error, bunting strategically must be a point of emphasis. As fans, we can hope for games where the team can put up five runs or more. Being pragmatic, a majority of games will come down to defense and who makes the crucial mistakes. Alonso, Rosario, and Zach Wheeler are the youngsters who could provide the foundation for success. Alonso can be a catalyst for this lineup to be reckoned with, along with Rosario’s speed, and hopefully Wheeler continues where he left off.
Bold Prediction : Alonso makes Mets’ opening day roster, will be in contention for rookie of the year. Zach Wheeler wins 15+ games. If Harper lands in Philadelphia, they will be the team to beat. If so, The Mets would definitely need to consider trades at the deadline.
Formula for Success: Play well on the road. Stick to the game-plan, 6-7 solid SP innings, Gsellman/Lugo, Familia, Diaz(Acquired from Mariners, along with Cano). The Front Office just invested in slamming “the door” shut in the ninth by acquiring the league leader in saves. Make sure he gets his opportunities!