NEW YORK -- Quite suddenly at first base, the Mets appear well-heeled. Five-time All-Star Adrian Gonzalez will man the position most days in April. Wilmer Flores remains a steady option against left-handed pitchers. Dominic Smith is still the Mets' first baseman of the future, in the organization's eyes -- and
NEW YORK -- Quite suddenly at first base, the Mets appear well-heeled. Five-time All-Star Adrian Gonzalez will man the position most days in April. Wilmer Flores remains a steady option against left-handed pitchers. Dominic Smith is still the Mets' first baseman of the future, in the organization's eyes -- and a promising one at that.
But it may not be long before another competitor enters the fray. Coming off a standout -- albeit injury-shortened -- first full Minor League season, Peter Alonso is ranked No. 7 on MLB Pipeline's updated list of top first-base prospects. Tampa Bay's Brendan McKay, the No. 4 overall pick in last year's Draft, led a list that includes some of Minor League Baseball's heaviest hitters.
:: Top 10 Prospects by Position ::
A college standout at the University of Florida, Alonso parlayed a strong junior season into a second-round Draft selection by the Mets, who considered his power potential as substantial as that of nearly anyone in the 2016 Draft. That tool manifested itself in a significant way last summer, when Alonso hit 18 home runs with a .524 slugging percentage over two levels, rising from Class A Advanced St. Lucie to Double-A Binghamton in late August.
It was a promotion that came two months after Alonso returned from a broken hand -- an injury that did not bog down his offensive statistics, despite costing him a significant chunk of the summer. Overall, in parts of two professional seasons, the 23-year-old Alonso has hit 23 homers in 123 games with a .903 OPS.
"He's got a chance to be a prototypical slugging first baseman," Mets director of Minor League player development Ian Levin said. "He has elite raw power and has shown consistent ability to use it in games, and his overall ability to hit should allow him to continue to progress."
Like most first-base prospects, Alonso's burden is that to succeed in the Majors, he must not just hit, but hit with authority. Alonso is likely ticketed to begin this season back at Binghamton, where he mashed five home runs in 11 games down the stretch in 2017. Similar success early this year could hasten Alonso's rise to Triple-A Las Vegas, a hitter-friendly environment where sluggers such as him tend to thrive.
From there, it's just a quick hop to the Majors, where Alonso could provide a legitimate challenge to Smith -- or become a tantalizing trade chip for help at another position.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook.