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Live Scouting Report: Peter Alonso

When it comes to prospects, the New York Mets organization isn’t an ideal place to do your shopping. Coming into the season, only one Mets prospect cracked top-100 industry lists, and that was Andres Gimenez. None cracked my own top-100 dynasty prospect rankings here on Fantrax, with only one being close, and it wasn’t Gimenez. It was Mr. Peter Morgan Alonso.

Alonso was drafted by the Mets in the 2nd round of the 2016 amateur draft after a very productive junior season at the University of Florida. In 211 at-bats, Alonso finished with 14 home runs, 18 doubles, a .374 batting average, and as many walks as strikeouts. Some hitters take a little bit of time to get acclimated to the minor leagues, but not Alonso. He didn’t skip a beat, hitting .321 in his professional debut in the New York pen league, then a solid .289 during his first full season in 2017.

There haven’t many minor league hitters hotter than Peter Alonso, especially over the last few weeks. In 112 at-bats, Alonso already has nine doubles, eight home runs, and 26 RBI to go along with a .350/.462/.632/1.094  slash line. Just to put it in perspective, that OPS is higher than Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s OPS. Just by five points, but still, damn impressive.

The Swing

When Alonso and the Binghamton Rumble Ponies came to Portland, Maine this past Thursday, I was expecting at least an extra-base hit out of Alonso, or maybe even a dinger on video. Well, no such luck, but Alonso did get some quality at-bats in, even if that doesn’t show up in his 0-for-3 line in the box score.

He reached base via error on each of his first two plate appearance on soft ground balls, one of which that didn’t even make it past the pitcher’s mound. So what’s so special about those? Well, nothing. But Alonso did show an excellent eye at the plate, laying off several pitches that just missed catching the outside corner.

Pitch selection and patience at the plate are two areas that Alonso has vastly improved upon this season. Coming into 2018, Alonso had a 7.4% career walk rate in 516 plate appearances. That number has almost doubled to 14.0% through his first 127 plate appearances this season.

For a slugger like Alonso, he strikes out a lot less than you would imagine, which can be attributed to that strong pitch selection I mentioned earlier. Alonso has a respectable 18.8% strikeout rate this season and 18.2% for his minor league career. It’s rare that you’ll see him chase pitches outside the strike zone. He’s perfectly fine letting a few go by and waiting for something he can drive.

That mentality has helped him post a .307 career batting average since being drafted almost two years ago and will help him post high batting averages at the Major League level year in and year out. This isn’t just a one-trick power show with Alonso, that’s for sure. But while we’re mentioning it, let’s discuss that power, shall we?

The first thing that stands out about Alonso’s set-up at the plate is his incredibly strong lower half. He’s strong everywhere, but that lower half is where his power starts. Alonso sets up in the back of the batter’s box with a wide stance and not much movement pre-pitch outside of a minimal bat wiggle. He then shifts his weight to his back legs and times the pitch with his hands and small leg kick in unison with each other. There’s no noticeable hitch in his swing or any unnecessary movement. Basically, a very clean swing.

Another impressive aspect of Alonso’s swing is how compact and quick it is to the ball. When Alonso makes contact, which is often, his plus bat speed generates easy hard contact to all fields and the slight uppercut nature of his swing helps him generate strong loft. Plus-power is a definite, and I’m tempted to call it plus-plus. Just look at a blast he hit back in his days as a Gator.

Fantasy Outlook

From all the video I’ve seen and the few at-bats I saw Thursday, Alonso looks to have all the makings of an All-Star caliber offensive performer that will be one of the best bats at first base. An average north of .280 and 35+ home runs will likely become the benchmark for Alonso in the middle of the Mets lineup.

Alonso is slow as molasses, so don’t expect any speed contributions, but he’ll likely be a very strong contributor in the other four standard offensive fantasy categories. That is, assuming the Mets put together a solid lineup around him.

For an offensive comparison, think Edwin Encarnacion with a little more potential in the batting average department. If you have a chance to acquire Alonso in dynasty formats, I’d highly recommend you do so. This is going to be one of the premier power bats in the game in short order.

Got a question about Alonso that I didn’t cover here? Ask below or follow me on Twitter and ask there.

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