Peter Alonso was a swell young fella, who bounced from city to city to display his Herculean feats of power. Brooklyn. St. Lucie. Binghamton. Las Vegas. The shows got so wild that even the baseballs starting singing Britney Spears’ Hit Me Baby One More Time as they hurled 60 feet 6 inches down the pitching tunnel. 80 grade power with a 6′ 3″ 230 to 245 pound frame, depending on who you ask just added to the legend. Once he made it to The Show, though, Peter decided to simplify things and changed his name to Pete Alonso, which takes it from two syllables to one. You know what else has two syllables? Home run. So, Peter Alonso has gone from a swell young fella to a generous one because now we can save time and oxygen every time he hits a home run, which he is planning to do plenty. Instead of Peter Alonso hits another home run, it is now Pete. Gone. Simple and efficient. I like it. That philosophy also is a microcosm of his general hitting approach: See ball, hit ball. Ok, all jokes aside, Alonso was added in 18.4% of ESPN leagues over the past seven days, bringing his ownership from 29.7 to 48.1%. Trash or treasure?
Well, spoiler alert, how the F is he owned in less than 50% of leagues? People have already given up?
Alonso strikes out a lot. So far, in only 19 plate appearances, the strikeout rate is 26.3%. Last year in Triple-A, though, that rate was 25.9%. Nick Gerli wrote a great piece, with some insight from our very own Lance Brozdowski, how Alonso’s simplified approach at the plate (see ball, hit ball) coupled with his low hand placement could make him susceptible to high heat and low and away breaking balls.
With that said, his plate discipline is very impressive for a power hitter. He’s had a walk rate over 10% the past two seasons. So far this year, he’s at 10.5%.
The two numbers that get me most excited, though, are the batting average and batted profile data. In three minor league seasons, Alonso has never had an average below .260 and been above .300 three times. As for the batted ball data, he’s going oppo 41.7% of the time! Couple that with the fact that he’s never had an ISO below .230 or a SLG below .515 and……Gone.
Let’s get back to the batted ball numbers. Last year in Triple-A, he pulled the ball 50.3% of the time and only went oppo 20.2%. Throughout his minor year career, he’s tended to be a more pull hitter, so some regression could be in the works. There’s also the chance that he’s learned and developed a more mature approach at the plate. If you watch him at the plate, his swing is short and compact with minimal leg kick. He lets the ball get deep and, so far, has been driving the ball hard to right center. The early season success could provide validation for the new approach, and hopefully continued refinement.
Now, there’s going to be an adjustment period for sure. Pitchers will start attacking him differently. So far, pitchers are primarily working him hard inside and junk away. They haven’t been working the high and tight stuff yet, though. That’s probably the next place they go. Interestingly, most of Alonso’s power has come on the low and inside stuff.
There’s so much to like about Alonso. He doesn’t sell out for power, but he’s so strong that the power is always in play. He’s batting second in the batting order, against both lefties and righties. The plate discipline and compact swing should allow him to make any necessary adjustments that will inevitably need to be made.