Mets rookie Pete Alonso has been everything as advertised and more so far this season. The raw power has been on display, his defense has been a pleasant surprise, and he's even become an infectious clubhouse presence to boot.
Alonso has racked up 55 games in the big leagues since coming north with the Mets' camp after Spring Training in Port St. Lucie. In those contests, he's slashing .265/.341/.625 with 19 home runs (third in the MLB), 43 RBI (tied ninth in MLB), and a .966 OPS.
This type of production is why Alonso has been pegged as an early top candiate for the NL Rookie of the Year Award. But does he have some competition for that honor right behind him?
Looking at one of the Mets' NL East rivals in the Braves, a young player by the name of Austin Riley has burst on to the scene down in Atlanta. The 22-year-old has been making his mark at the plate early on, and in doing so, has started an interesting topic of conversation for the Rookie of the Year.
Now, Alonso has the bigger sample size, and has showed his production can be consistent thus far. But, when looking at both players first 14 games -- the amount of games Riley has under his belt before tonight -- things look pretty similar. Take a look...
Analyzing the numbers, the two rookies were eerily similar off the rip. Riley's batting tops Alonso, and he has one more homer and three more RBI as well. But Alonso's seven doubles and six homers gives him the better slugging percentage, while his seven walks compared to Riley's two makes for a better on-base percentage.
Despite the simliarities, there is one thing that sets these two players apart. Alonso has earned his role as the starting first baseman for the Mets, and will be there for the entirely of the season (health willing, of course).
While no one expects Riley to be sent down within the next month or so, there is always the possibility the Braves do make that call depending on certain roster moves they make. The reason he was called up in the first place was due to Ender Inciarte hitting the IL.
For now, though, Riley has added himself to the Rookie of the Year candidate list. That list also includes Padres SS Fernando Tatis Jr. and RHP Chris Paddack, Braves RHP Mike Soroka, Nationals OF Victor Robles, Dodgers OF Alex Verdugo, and Diamondbacks 1B Christian Walker.
Alonso has always been at the top of the pack, with the others following along as he continues to rewrite the Mets and MLB's record books. But if Riley continues to hit the way he has so far in his first taste of the MLB, could he be Alonso's biggest competitor for the award?