Alonso's 474-ft bomb proves every day's a Derby

July 17th, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS -- As it turns out, the Home Run Derby did not ruin ’s swing.

Nine days after his Derby victory, Alonso bashed his first home run of the season’s second half in the Mets’ 14-4 rout of the Twins on Wednesday. For the Mets, it was worth the wait. Landing in Target Field’s third deck in left field, the homer traveled a projected 474 feet, making it the longest of any Met since Statcast began tracking distances in 2015.

“I’ve been here a lot. I’ve seen a lot of BPs in here, and people don’t even hit them there in BP,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “That’s pretty impressive.”

Alonso’s blast surpassed Michael Conforto’s previous team record by two feet. It also tied for the eighth-longest homer in the big leagues this season, falling 31 feet shy of Nomar Mazara’s 505-foot shot back in June.

Perhaps most impressive? It traveled farther than any of the 57 home runs Alonso hit during the Derby in Cleveland.

“I mean, it was amazing,” teammate Dominic Smith said. “I get the pleasure to watch him take BP all the time, so I get to see a lot of moonshots he hits. … I still don’t think it’s the farthest one he’ll hit. But for him to hit one like that, it just shows what kind of power he has.”

The Mets were already leading by a half-dozen runs when Alonso came to the plate in the eighth, stuck in a 1-for-17 funk with 10 strikeouts since his Derby win last week. Even before Alonso traveled to Cleveland, reporters and fans peppered him with questions regarding his swing, and the fear that the Derby might mess with it. A cold snap to open the second half only made those concerns more pronounced.

Alonso made sure they wouldn’t linger, however, turning on an 87-mph Matt Magill slider and crushing it about halfway up the third deck in left. As he started toward first base, Alonso watched the ball’s flight, wanting to sneak a peek at its landing spot.

“It’s not every day you connect like that,” he said. “That felt really good. That felt really, really good.”

It may not be every day, but it’s certainly been often enough. No Major Leaguer has hit more home runs of at least 440 feet than Alonso, who now has seven. Only two players, Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich, have more total homers with 34 apiece.

Almost daily, records are falling for Alonso, the odds-on favorite to win the National League Rookie of the Year Award. Wednesday’s home run gave him 54 extra-base hits on the year, the most by a rookie in franchise history. He already owns the Mets’ rookie home run record, and he is on pace to match Aaron Judge’s Major League rookie record of 52 homers in 2017. Even if Alonso falls off that pace, he is a near-lock to surpass Bellinger’s National League rookie record of 39 homers that same season.


Beyond that, the Mets’ franchise record of 41 homers looms. Todd Hundley set the mark in 1996 and Carlos Beltran matched it a decade later. Since that time, only Carlos Delgado has come particularly close to threatening the record, hitting 38 homers in 2008.

Alonso? He has a chance to shatter it, likely with a few more moon shots along the way.

“The sky’s the limit right now,” he said. “I’m just looking to keep working hard and playing hard for the guys. At the end of the day, I’m just trying to help this team win. Granted, what I contribute is nice. But I just want to win games, simple as that.”