There's no debating that Pete Alonso is having the best start to a career among the thousands of players to wear the Mets uniform.
Thankfully for him, he's doing it at a time when Mets fans are seeking an heir to the throne left behind by David Wright. He's also doing it during the social media age, through which we get a better look into his personality and popularity than would have been the case had he broken out at any other point in history.
In a season when much of the attention in the National League has been on San Diego's hyped rookie Fernando Tatis Jr., it's Alonso that won the league's Rookie of the Month for April.
Drafted during the second round in 2016 out of the University of Florida, Alonso hit .290 with 59 home runs and 203 RBI in 255 minor-league games. So, he is hardly a surprise to Mets fans, most of whom - myself included - had been calling for his promotion for most of the past year.
Nevertheless, this past winter, most projection sites and expert rankings pegged Alonso to be a mid-May call up, assuming Robinson Cano, Dominic Smith, or Todd Frazier hadn't already been thriving at first base. Instead, Alonso hit well in Spring Training, made the Opening Day roster, and has not looked back getting the start in 27 of the team's 31 games.
During his first 10 games of this season, he hit .385 with five home runs, 14 RBI, and eight runs scored. He continued his success, though not at the same torrid pace, as he is still batting .291 with a .383 OBP, 9 HR, 26 RBI and 1.4 WAR, according to FanGraphs.com.
His nine home runs put him on pace to end 2019 with more than 50 which, while seemingly unlikely to attain, doesn't seem that whacky when considering baseball as a whole is on pace to set a new record for league-wide home runs in a single season.
To put his pace in context, the most home runs ever hit by a Mets player in a single season is 41, first by Todd Hundley in 1996 and again by Carlos Beltran in 2006. To further contrast the three players, note that Hundley had more than 1,600 plate appearances entering 1996, and Beltran had more than 4,000 while Alonso had none.
To further memorialize his amazing start, Alonso is now the first player in modern history to have at least 11 extra-base hits during the first 10 games of his career, during which he's one of just eight players with at least 14 RBI. Alonso also now holds the team record for most hits (31) during the first 32 games of a career.
And there's more. On April 27, Alonso crushed his ninth home run of the season, tying him with Neil Walker (2016), John Buck (2013), Carlos Delgado (2006) and Dave Kingman (1976) as the only players to hit the number before May 1. He is now also tied for the franchise record with Darryl Strawberry for the most home runs ever hit in a single month as well as tied for the most RBI (Jeff Kent). His 18 extra-base hits in April are a new franchise record.
To top off the month, as if the above wasn't enough, Alonso picked up his first walk-off hit during the bottom of the 10th inning against the Reds earlier this week.
He isn't just making headlines with his overt stat line, he's also getting attention for the distance and explosiveness of his home runs. Earlier this season against Braves reliever Jonny Venters, he hit a bomb that traveled 118.3 mph, which is now the ninth-hardest-hit home run since 2015. It's worth noting the top eight are all hit by either Giancarlo Stanton or Aaron Judge.
The Rookie of the Month label now has him on everyone's radar for the true Rookie of the Year award, which was originally expected to eventually go to Tatis Jr., Victor Robles, Chris Paddack or Alex Verdugo.
Entering play today, according to FanGraphs, Alonso's 1.4 WAR leads all National League rookies, though Arizona's Christian Walker (1.2) and Tatis Jr. (1.1) are not far behind. The last player from the Mets to win Rookie of the Year is Jacob deGrom (2014), who went on to also win a Cy Young Award last season.
Regardless of whether Alonso wins the ultimate rookie trophy, it's clear Brodie Van Wagenen made the correct choice to have Alonso be on the Opening Day roster, pushing his eventual free agency back one season. And because of it, the young man is no doubt on his way to a historic season and - hopefully - a legendary career.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!