2020 was a down year for the 2019 Rookie of the Year. I believe 2021 can be a good one for the first baseman.
It’s not hard to see that Alonso hit the ball much better in 2019. Alonso was making less contact, striking out more, and not making good contact when he did. However, these aren’t the only stats that matter.
This is a figure that I think means a lot. The two seasons are not very different, but there is a slight difference from 2019-2020. That difference is actually a good one, as Alonso was using more of the entire field as opposed to 2019, where he was slightly pulling the ball. Whether this was the reason why he struggled more, or he just wasn’t making contact as much as he wanted, this is a positive sign for Alonso.
By the Pitch
Pete Alonso is a fastball hitter. He has been thrown more fastballs than any other pitch, but he still struggles with them sometimes. In 2019, Alonso had a .291 AVG against fastballs. That number dropped significantly to .237 in 2020. The SLG is even more worrisome of a drop on the fastball, as it fell from .666 in 2019 to .509 in 2020. However, fastballs are always going to be something Alonso feeds off of, he just needs to get used to hitting the breaking pitch.
That being said, breaking pitches are the worst category for Alonso, as he has batted a highest of .205 on them in his career- from the 2019 season.
However, there is one category that actually got significantly better in 2020- off-speed pitches. In 2019, he had a .239 AVG, and a .587 SLG on the off-speed. 2020 yielded incredible results on off-speed pitches, as he had a .280 AVG, and a .640 SLG. That is a very good number, and is very promising for Alonso. He struggled so mightily on any non-fastball pitch in 2019, and he made that adjustment in 2020 to be able to hit off-speed. This did hurt his fastball hitting in 2020, but that is because he was working so hard to hit the slower pitches. As long as Alonso works on hitting the fastball the way he did in 2019, and combines that with his off-speed success in 2020, his only weak spot will be breaking balls. That is definitely something he hasn’t been able to say yet.
Going to throw out a bunch of Pete Alonso’s stats here comparing 2019 and 2020, and will analyze them.
- Exit Velocity
- 2019- 90.7 MPH
- 2020- 90.2 MPH
Good to see similar exit velocities by year. Alonso hits the ball hard, a very good sign.
- Barrel %
- 2019- 15.8%
- 2020- 12.8%
Definitely a drop off in barrels, but that is something that can be fixed. Alonso was looking to be better at hitting the off-speed, which will in turn lead to more hits on top of or under the ball.
- Hard Hit %
- 2019- 42.9%
- 2020- 41.2%
- Whiff %
- 2019- 41.4%
- 2020- 44.7%
- In zone Swing %
- 2019- 41.4%
- 2020- 44.7%
- Out of zone swing %
- 2019- 58.6%
- 2020- 55.3%
- First-pitch swing %
- 2019- 28.1%
- 2020- 33.5%
These numbers display a clear pattern. While Alonso was swinging the bat more, he was having less hard hits, and more swings and misses. However, the number that stands out to me is the out of zone swing percentage. Albeit incredibly high, he swung at 3.3% less pitches out of the zone between 2019 and 2020. A very impressive change like that is oftentimes a good sign, and could only mean good things. Mets fans have seen for a while that Alonso likes to swing at pitches outside the zone, but the trend he is on shows that he is going to be doing less of that.
Overall, Alonso needs to swing the bat a little less, needs to be more focused on hitting breaking pitches, and needs to be able to hit fastballs at a rate like he did in 2019. If he can do that, 2021 can be a great season for Alonso.
Personally, I believe that this season will be a good one for Alonso. I believe he is going to stick to the model of a true power hitter- a guy who doesn’t hit for average, but will hit many home runs. But, I do think we can expect a boost in his average from the past season, and he will still hit many dingers. I am projecting him to hit somewhere between .250-.260, with around 40 home runs. If he can do that, Pete Alonso will be able to solidify himself as one of the better power hitters in today’s game.
Photo Credit Wendell Cruz USA TODAY Sports
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