From the minors to the big leagues, Luis Rojas has seen Pete Alonso's meteoric rise with a firsthand perspective.
Before he was introduced Friday as the Mets' new manager, Rojas got his start through the organization's minor-league affiliates, which included the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies from 2017-18.
Rojas crossed paths with Alonso, who played for the team during both seasons before heading to the Triple-A level midway through 2018, and Rojas saw the early signs of what Alonso eventually became.
"Pete is a great player and that's the first thing that caught my attention is how good he was and how determined he was to get better," Rojas said Saturday during the Mets Fan Fest at Citi Field. "Obviously, there's stuff he needed to get better (at), to keep climbing up the ladder. And when I got him up in Binghamton in '17, later in '17 in August, there's some things that he needed to work on and he was determined to get better at.
"We worked really hard in August at the end of that season and when I saw him next spring training, his work ethic in the offseason showed me how good this kid was still going to be. And I'm looking forward to see Pete just keep climbing like that, just keep getting better in different areas."
Alonso slashed .314/.440/.573 with 15 home runs and 52 RBI in his first 65 games at Binghamton in the 2018 season. He got moved up to Triple-A for the second half and kept chopping, slashing .260/.355/.585 with 21 home runs and 67 RBI in 67 games.
The rest was history as Alonso started on the Mets in 2019 and earned NL Rookie of the Year honors after slashing .260/.358/.583 with an MLB single-season rookie record of 53 home runs in 161 games.
"He does it every day," Rojas said. "Sometimes, we've got to talk to him, like, 'Save your energy. We want you out there with all your energy.' All the energy he brings to the team, he's a determined player and he wants to work all the time."