The start of the 2021 season for the New York Mets has been a roller coaster. They’ve played only eight of their scheduled 13 games with six postponements to start the year. It’s made it almost impossible for the Mets to find any groove or rhythm. Yet, they are 5-3 and lead the NL East after winning three consecutive games against their division rival Philadelphia Phillies.
The eight games have taught us some things. Some good and some bad. In the positive column we can put the starting rotation. Aside from one spotty inning from David Peterson, the Mets starting pitching has been great. Jacob deGrom’s first two starts have been phenomenal. Marcus Stroman and newly acquired Taijuan Walker have been way better than expected. It’s a big reason why the Mets are 5-3.
While their starting pitching has been a huge asset there are still somethings to be concerned about. Mostly, the offense which has yet to find its footing in the young season. There are two guys in particular that have struggled and they are players that the Mets need to perform at a high level if they want to make the playoffs in 2021.
One is Michael Conforto. If you’ve been on Twitter lately, Conforto’s struggles have been well documented. He is batting just .120 with three RBIs through 32 plate appearances to start the year. Conforto looks lost and confused at the plate right now. Yet Met fans have seen instances before where Conforto goes into a slump and bounces back to have a decent season. That’s why I am not as concerned about that as I am about this next thing.
The biggest concern for the Mets through 8 games are the struggles of Pete Alonso.
Just two years ago Alonso was the biggest thing in town. He hit an incredible 53 homers and drove in 120 runs. They were numbers never seen from a rookie. Met fans thought they had their next superstar in the making.
Last season was a completely different season for many reasons. It was only a 60-game schedule and the season began in late-July. It seemed to really effect Alonso, who had a difficult season. The expectation was that Alonso would bounce back in 2021 and be the player he was in 2019.
In Spring Training, Alonso looked poised for a big 2021 season. He hit .348 with four homers and 16 RBIs. While it’s ridiculous to expect the numbers he put up in Spring to carry over to the regular season, many fans expected Alonso to be clicking on all cylinders when the season began.
So far, that has not been the case. The biggest problem with Alonso is he is missing fastballs in the middle of the plate. He’s not swinging at bad pitches or making solid contact and hitting the ball at someone. He has just been missing balls over the plate and that is concerning.
He is currently hitting .207 with one home run and five RBIs. More importantly, he’s just 2 for 11 with Runners in Scoring Position (RISP). That’s an average of .182, which is 50 points lower than his career average with RISP and 64 points lower than in 2019. There’s no doubt the sample size is small and it’s very early in the season, however, the importance of Alonso in the Mets lineup cannot be understated. You can argue he is their most important offensive player.
That’s why he is the biggest concern for the Mets through eight games. If Alonso struggles continue the Mets lineup will be nowhere near as potent as everyone originally thought entering the season and they will have a tough time winning the NL East. It’s essential that Alonso finds his groove for the Mets to be contenders in 2021.
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