Mets first base prospect Peter Alonso, who will be with the team during spring training and could get the nod at first base on Opening Day, says he has improved his defense "tremendously." And he's out to "prove people wrong."
"Every time I see something online, every time someone knocks me, it's like, 'Oh, he's not good at defense.' I've really shown that -- since July, I don't think I've made an error since last June," Alonso told SNY's Steve Gelbs on Monday at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. "That's July, August, September, and throughout the (Arizona) Fall League. I've gotten tremendously better. I'm really proud of myself. I'm just trying to keep it snowballing so I can prove people wrong and so I can be happy and play the game I love."
Alonso agreed that when people question his defense it becomes a motivating factor.
"I see it all the time," he said. "I'm not stupid, I see what people are saying about me. I'm just looking to prove the naysayers wrong. That's about it."
A new scouting report released during the AFL said Alonso had "enough glove to stick at first base every day," so it seems his hard work is truly paying off.
And Alonso is excited about how close he is to making his big league debut.
"It's exciting," he said. "Every time I wake up and go to the gym, it's something that's tangible to work for. ... this offseason, it feels like the stars are sort of aligning. It's just super-tangible where it's like. ... I know I have a chance and I just want to make the most of my opportunity."
Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen said on "Mets Hot Stove" on Monday he has been open to the idea of having Alonso on New York's Opening Day roster, which would mean the organization would sacrifice a year of team control.
"For me, if a player is ready on Opening Day and he can go six straight years of continuous service without a hiccup, that's a high-class problem for an organization," Van Wagenen said. "For us, we want to win games in the first week of April as much as we're going to want to in the last week of September. If he can help us do that, then we're going to put the best guy on the field."
To secure an extra year of team control, the Mets would need to wait until at least April 10 to call him up from the minors.
Alonso finished the 2018 season with 42 homers in a career-high 159 games. He crushed 36 homers during the minor league season, as he hit .285/.395/.579 in 132 games between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas. In the AFL, where he started off hot and cooled off late, Alonso cracked six homers while hitting .255/.339/.510 in 27 games.