Pete Alonso starts this week with a .414 batting average (12-for-29) with a 1.296 OPS, three doubles, three majestic home runs and six RBI. Among those with 20+ at bats this spring, Alonso has the fourth highest batting average on the team, first in home runs, first in OPS and slugging percentage (.828). Not bad for a kid who’s never taken a regular season swing a major league uniform.
He is arguably the best Mets hitter. Red Sox manager Alex Cora even went one step further saying Alonso is “probably the best hitter in Florida right now.” That should certainly strengthen Brodie Van Wagenen’s the Mets “will win now, we will win in the future” statement.
This past week Van Wagenen also assured Mets fans that the organization “will continue to look for the best 25 guys and we will make that be our determining factor, not the service time.”
So what if Alonso continues to hit at a .400 clip over the final two weeks of spring? Will Van Wagenen stay true to his word(s), or will he buckle to the business of baseball? As Mike Vaccaro clearly explained in his New York Post column today, suggesting it would “borderline insane … malpractice …” for Alonso to start the season on the major league roster.
If he’s as good as he seems to be, that is an enormous difference.It’s simple math and it’s simple economics. In a 187-day baseball season, a player receives credit for a full year of service time with his 172nd day. That means six years of team control. If he ends a year at 171, that means seven years. For a sacrifice of 15 days, the payoff is an extra year.
The math makes perfect sense, but what about the promise to “win now?” What about the “best 25 guys … not service time?” Will Van Wagenen accept the lost time to make a statement or will he submit to the mathematical advantage of the rules?
His decision will reveal a lot.