If you watched any of the 2019 Major League Baseball All-Star Game festivities, it would have been hard to miss Pete Alonzo, the rookie first baseman from the New York Mets. After all, Alonzo won the event's home run derby and also went one-for-two with two RBIs in the actual game the following night.
(Photo courtesy of MLB Facebook Page)
That's right, Alonzo, who also led the Major Leagues in home runs at the all-star break, participated in summer league baseball here in 2015, the year before the Mets drafted him in the second round. If you have some free time this summer, get out to watch a few games because you never know who'll you have the chance to see.
Here's a bit more on the latest MLB superstar to spend at a couple of months improving his game on Cape Cod.
Alonzo's Early College Career
After playing baseball at Jesuit High School and Henry B. Plant High School in Tampa, Alonzo committed to the University of Florida where he played for the Gators.
While Alonzo was a prospect with all the tools to succeed, it took him some time to adjust the college game, as he hit .264 with four home runs and 32 RBIs and a freshman and .301 with five home runs and 32 RBIs in his sophomore season. More work was needed, as Alonzo had not yet lived up to his potential.
Alonzo's Season on Cape Cod
Following his sophomore season with the Gators, Alonzo decided to play in the Cape Cod Baseball League to receive some additional at-bats and coaching. During his time with the Bourne Braves, Alonzo showed some promise, but could only muster a .255 batting average with zero home runs and 13 RBIs in his 98 at-bats. This output was disappointing for the young hitter, but he did learn some things that he would put into use in the future. And he wasn't done yet, as his next season in the NCAA would turn him into one of baseball's top prospects.
Alonzo's Junior Year
Upon returning to the University of Florida for his junior season in 2016, Alonzo became one of the top hitters in the country, slashing .374 with 14 home runs and 60 RBIs. His rapid improvement was enough to get him on the radar of multiple MLB teams, and the New York Mets finally selected him 64th overall.
From there, Alonzo moved immediately into low A-ball with the Brooklyn Cyclones, where he hit .321 with five home runs and 21 RBIs. He was also selected to play in the New York – Penn League’s All-Star Game. Things were beginning to look up for Alonzo, and he was showing that he could be in the Majors sooner, rather than later.
His Professional Career
In 2017, Alonzo rocketed through the Mets' organization, starting the season in high A-ball and moving into AA by the end of the season. Overall, 2017 saw Alonzo hit .289 while adding 18 home runs and 63 RBIs. It took a while, but he was now becoming a power hitter that could potentially thrive in the Majors.
During the 2018 season, Alonzo played in both AA and AAA, hitting a total of 36 home runs and driving in 119. His season led to him representing the Mets in the All-Star Futures Game, which is part of the MLB All-Star festivities and where he hit a two-run homer, and receiving the Joe Bauman Home Run Award given to the minor league player who hits the most home runs in a season.
These stats showed the Mets that Alonzo was, in fact, ready to take the next step and just four years after playing for the Bourne Braves, he made his Major League debut on March 28, 2019.
Major League Career
Alonzo's first season in the Major Leagues quickly saw him become one of the game's top hitters. At the All-Star break, he had already hit 30 home runs and added 68 RBIs, while being named the National League Rookie of the Month in April and June.
Then came perhaps the most memorable moment of his season, as Alonzo outlasted fellow rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the MLB Home Run Derby, making him only the second first-year player in history to win the contest. The sky is the limit for Alonzo, and the Cape Cod Baseball League should be proud of the role it played in his development.
See Tomorrow's Stars Today
Over the years, the Cape Cod Baseball League has attracted the country’s top college players who are looking to get some additional games in once their season ends. The league’s popularity has led to over 1,100 MLB players spending time on the Cape, including three hall of famers.
Do your best to get out to watch a few games this summer because you never know when baseball’s next superstar will spend a summer on the Cape.