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Alonso on pace for historic rookie season

@SlangsOnSports
July 25, 2019

Pete Alonso’s case for Rookie of the Year in the National League seems to get stronger by the day. He just can’t stop hitting home runs -- and monster ones, at that. He already has hit the Mets’ longest home run tracked by Statcast (since 2015), one he hit 474

Pete Alonso’s case for Rookie of the Year in the National League seems to get stronger by the day. He just can’t stop hitting home runs -- and monster ones, at that. He already has hit the Mets’ longest home run tracked by Statcast (since 2015), one he hit 474 feet on July 17. And he hasn’t even played a full season yet. He has 13 home runs with a 110+ mph exit velocity, tied for second-most in the Majors this year. That’s seven more 110+ mph home runs than any other Mets player in a single season tracked by Statcast.

It’s almost easy to forget he’s a rookie, with where he is on leaderboards and what he’s already accomplished, like winning the Home Run Derby. But he is, and that means a whole host of Major League records that are his for the breaking.

He’s now played 100 games, a fitting time to look back at the historic start he’s had to his career and the records he’s on pace to break.

Home runs
Alonso has 33 home runs, tied for the third-most by any player through 100 career games. But that’s already in the past, since he’s played game number 100. What we care more about is: will he break the rookie home run record? Well, he is certainly on pace to.

Alonso is on pace for 53 home runs, assuming he plays in each remaining Mets game. That would be one more than the current rookie record, held by Aaron Judge, who did it in 2017. Only one other rookie has even reached 40 homers -- Mark McGwire, who hit 49 in 1987, which stood as the rookie record until Judge broke it in 2017. Through 100 games played in 2017, Judge had 33 homers, just as Alonso has now. In 1987, McGwire had 37 through 100 games.

And what about franchise history? Those 53 home runs would shatter the Mets’ franchise mark of 41, jointly held by 1996 Todd Hundley and 2006 Carlos Beltran. Alonso surpassed the franchise’s rookie record of 26 held by Darryl Strawberry back on June 23 with number 27.

RBIs
He has 75 RBIs, putting him on pace for 120 this season. That wouldn’t be a rookie record, but it would rank as seventh-most by a rookie since RBIs became official in 1920. The last rookie to reach 120 RBIs was Albert Pujols in 2001, who had 130. Before that, no rookie had reached 120 RBIs since Walt Dropo in 1950. The record is 145, by Ted Williams in 1939.

That would be a pretty special number in Mets franchise history, too. There have been just three 120-RBI seasons by Mets players ever. Mike Piazza established a franchise record of 124 in 1999, the same year that Robin Ventura had 120. Then in 2008, David Wright tied Piazza’s franchise mark with 124 of his own.

Extra-base hits
Alonso is already up to 56 extra-base hits this season, thanks to 21 doubles and two triples on top of his 33 homers. He’s on pace for 90, which would be a record for a rookie. The current mark is 89, held by Hal Trosky, who racked up those extra-base hits with the Indians in 1934. The last rookie with even 80 extra-base hits was Pujols with 88 in that 2001 season.

That also puts Alonso on pace to break the franchise record for extra-base hits ... by 10. The current record is 80, set by Howard Johnson in 1989 and tied by Beltran in 2006.

Slugging percentage
Alonso is slugging .605 this season. That wouldn’t break the rookie record established by Judge in 2017, at .627, but it would rank sixth overall among rookies in a qualified season. The only rookies with a higher slugging percentage were Judge, McGwire, Wally Berger, Pujols and Williams.

Following the theme with homers, RBIs and extra-base hits, if Alonso were to maintain this pace, he’d find himself towards the top of a Mets list, too. The only hitter to manage a .600 or higher slugging percentage in a qualified season in Mets history was Piazza, who slugged .614 in 2000.

Sarah Langs is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in New York. Follow her on Twitter @SlangsOnSports.