Pete Alonso was a revelation during the first half, capped by winning the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game. So what has happened since?
Heading into spring training, Pete Alonso was considered a potential difference-maker for the New York Mets. He has delivered, with a .265/.360/.610 slash-line, 33 home runs (third in the National League), 75 RBI, a 3.8 bWAR and a 3.5 fWAR entering Monday.
Those who buy into a post-Home Run Derby funk now have an example in Alonso. He is just 4-for-34 since the All-Star break, and Mets manager Mickey Callaway gave him a day off this past weekend. That three of those four hits have been home runs that he’s accounted for seven RBI since the break have kept Alonso from being a complete detriment.
Alonso has struck out in 25.4 percent of his plate appearances and walked 10.4 percent of the time so far this season. Since the break, that rate has spiked to 34.1 percent (14 times in 41 plate appearances) with five walks (12.2 percent). The simple equation of putting the ball in play less often has brought a drop-off over a short sample.
But this is not the first slump for Alonso this season.
From April 28-May 28 (109 plate appearances), the Mets’ rookie first baseman had a .202/.257/.505 slash-line (.203 BABIP, .303 ISO), eight home runs, a 31.2 percent strikeout rate and a 4.6 percent walk rate.
So what came after that first slump?
From May 28 to the All-Star break (36 games, 158 plate appearances), Alonso hit .318/.430/.697 with 13 home runs and 29 RBI. As FanGraphs noted, he became more selective, chased pitches out of the strike zone less and swung less overall compared to the previous stretch where he struggled. Since the break the percentage of pitches he’s chasing outside the strike zone has trended back toward what it was during the stretch from late April-late May.
After striking out on Sunday, Alonso pulled a Bo Jackson and broke his bat over his leg. Maybe breaking the bat can work as a slump-breaker.
Alonso has been the only reason to watch or pay attention to the Mets on the field, and he’s in a downturn right now. But based only on what he did just earlier this season, some kind of rebound is coming.