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Mets' Alonso rides wave of huge season into AFL

October 22, 2018

It would be easy for Peter Alonso to think he has nothing left to prove at the Minor League level. After all, the first baseman and Mets' No. 2 prospect tied for the Minor League lead in home runs in 2018 with 36, topped the Minors with 119 RBIs while

It would be easy for Peter Alonso to think he has nothing left to prove at the Minor League level. After all, the first baseman and Mets' No. 2 prospect tied for the Minor League lead in home runs in 2018 with 36, topped the Minors with 119 RBIs while finishing with an outstanding .285/.395/.579 line. Mets fans spent much of the second half of the season clamoring for him to be called up, though that call didn't come this year.
Alonso, however, isn't one to rest on his laurels. He's more than happy to be playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions in this year's Arizona Fall League so he truly is ready for his first trip to Citi Field.
Arizona Fall League overviews for all 30 teams
"It's what every baseball player dreams of," Alonso said of that first callup. "I'm working hard every single day and I can't wait for that opportunity, so this is a good place to keep getting better and keep growing as a player.
"Everything is a primary focus for me. Every person has something they need to improve on and I'm just taking advantage of this to improve offense, defense and baserunning. I just want to elevate my play to the highest level I can get it and I just want to be the best possible player I can be."
Few doubt Alonso's ability to impact the game with his bat. His right-handed power is legit and his approach at the plate (76 walks) points to an ability to continue tapping into that power. It's one of the reasons why Alonso is relishing even more playing time this fall after a regular season that saw him play 132 games and collect 478 at-bats.
"I like playing more games," Alonso said. "Playing every day, it's quick feedback, it's making adjustments quicker because you have a game every day. You can work on some of the things that didn't work the night before or if you have a lot of good momentum going, then it's easier to carry out day to day."
The one area of his game that has drawn some concern has been his work at first base. He is limited to the corner infield position and has struggled some at times, but he's worked tirelessly at that part of his game, refusing to be a bat-only type of player. And it's clear the fact that people doubt his glove work has served as motivation.
"I think the light went on in Vegas," Alonso said. "Everything has really clicked and I'm really proud of all the work I've done. Since July through now, I've felt awesome. My improvements have been great, but I'm looking to keep building and stay consistent. I want to keep this rolling just so I can prove some people wrong with some misunderstood thoughts about me."
Mets hitters in the Fall League
Andres Gimenez, SS: The Mets' top prospect and Futures Game participant had a terrific 2018 campaign, reaching Double-A before his 20th birthday, and finishing with a .281/.347/.409 line and a system best 38 stolen bases while playing outstanding defense at shortstop. He's seeing some time on both sides of second base in the AFL while getting more experience against advanced pitching.

Ali Sanchez, C: A tremendous defensive catcher, Sanchez's bat woke up a bit in 2018 as he set career highs in total bases, extra-base hits and OPS. He also got more at-bats (328) than he has in any previous season, adding more to that total this fall to potentially prepare him for a jump to Double-A.
Desmond Lindsay, OF: The 2015 second-round pick has long tantalized with his tools, but he's had trouble staying healthy and he again spent time on the disabled list in 2018, though his 90 games and 314 at-bats represent career highs. He's on the taxi squad for the Scorpions, meaning he's only playing twice a week, giving him a brief look at a level of pitching he has yet to face.

Mets pitchers in the Fall League
Gerson Bautista, RHP: One of three relievers the Mets got in 2017 in the Addison Reed deal, Bautista made his big league debut in 2018 despite a 5.14 ERA across Double- and Triple-A. While he missed a lot of bats (12.7 K/9), he was far too hittable (12.1 hits per nine, .314 BAA) in the Minors, so he'll be working on command within and outside of the strike zone this fall.

Matt Blackham, RHP: The 2014 draftee missed all of the 2016 season with elbow issues, but he has come back and thrown well in relief, reaching Double-A in 2018. He's proven very tough to hit (.170 BAA and 11.7 K/9 in 2018) with his 91-95 mph fastball and above-average breaking ball. He's working this fall on the consistency of that curve and his fastball command (5.4 BB/9 this year)
Stephen Nogosek, RHP: Another reliever the Mets got from the Red Sox in the 2017 Addison Reed deal, Nogosek pitched his way to Double-A in 2018 and overall missed bats (10.0 K/9, .198 BAA), but really struggled with command (6.7 BB/9), especially in Double-A (9.5 BB/9). He'll work on finding the strike zone more consistently this fall for a potential return to Binghamton next year.
Joe Zanghi, RHP: The right-handed reliever dominated in the Florida State League, but struggled more at the upper levels with his 91-95 mph fastball and average slider. The Mets sent him to the Fall league mostly to give him more experience facing advanced hitters.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.