At this time last year, Mets top prospect Peter Alonso wasn't prepared to compete for a job in Port St. Lucie. But that certainly isn't the case following a season where he teared through the minors.
There is a good chance the Mets break camp with Alonso as their starting first baseman on Opening Day. And that is the obvious goal for the 24-year-old slugger, who admitted this year has a "different feel" in Spring Training.
"It's definitely a different feel from last year because last year I was a non-roster invitee, same as this year but I only had couple weeks of experience in Double-A," Alonso told the media on Saturday. "Got up to Triple-A last year and I kind of see the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. So I'm just going to work hard and see what happens."
Alonso's bat is what has gotten him to this point in his career, where many believe he is the right-handed power that the Mets could definitely use with Yoenis Cespedes out for an extended time this season. Alonso made the leap to Triple-A halfway through last season after hitting .314/.440/.573 with 15 homers and 52 RBI in Double-A Binghamton.
Once he got to Vegas, Alonso's averaged dipped to .260, but his power numbers saw an increase with 21 homers, 19 doubles, and one triple which added up to an insane .585 slugging percentage.
He has always been a solid hitter, but Alonso said last year he saw himself become a more mature hitter at the dish.
"I feel like I've matured as a hitter and capitalized on more pitches I can drive and laid off bad ones," Alonso said. "I mean, that's just [becoming] a more efficient hitter, that's probably the main thing I would say."
Using that maturity, Alonso is hoping for loads of success in Florida, so he can achieve his lifelong dream of playing in the Majors.
"I just wanna force someone's hand," he said. "Ever since I was a young kid, I've dreamt to become a Major League baseball player. My first word was ball. This is something I've been looking forward to my entire life and I just really want it to happen."