New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso looks like a man on a mission in 2022.
Through the first 46 games of the regular season, Alonso has played like an early National League MVP candidate. The one they call "Polar Bear" is slashing .275/.340/.500 with an .840 OPS, 11 home runs and 41 RBIs. And with runners in scoring position, he is hitting .318 with seven homers and 33 RBIs.
Alonso leads the NL in RBIs and is second in the league behind Cleveland Guardians third baseman Jose Ramirez, who has 43. The 27-year-old is tied for the third most homers in baseball and is on pace for 38 total on the year.
The first baseman/DH also crushed an important walk-off homer to lift the Mets over the St. Louis Cardinals on May 19, which was the day the team discovered ace Max Scherzer would miss six to eight weeks with an oblique strain.
"I feel like I'm having a pretty complete year," Alonso said after his walk-off homer last week. "I want to keep capitalizing in my zone. I want to keep taking pitches that aren't, even if they're strikes. I want to continue to hone in on what I'm trying to do up there, and not deviate and give in to the pitcher's plan. For me, I want to keep trying to master consistency."
Alonso has endured a monstrous month of May, slugging seven homers, driving in 24 RBIs and posting a .298/.362/.564 triple slash across 94 at-bats. He has become a mainstay as the cleanup hitter in the Mets' lineup and has solidified himself as one of the most feared hitters in the game.
While Alonso is playing on another level early on, he has pretty much been a star since making his major league debut on Opening Day of the 2019 regular season. Since then, Alonso has smacked 117 career home runs. This is already 13th most all-time in Mets history. He only needs 16 more to surpass Michael Conforto for seventh all-time on this list. He set the all-time rookie home run record with 53 in '19, was an All-Star and won Rookie of the Year. He is also a two-time Home Run Derby champion.
Alonso is currently making $7.4 million this season and has two years left of arbitration. If he keeps producing at this rate, It's only a matter of time before the Mets start talking about a long-term extension with their homegrown franchise cornerstone. Should he win NL MVP, or come close, discussions regarding a new deal could come sooner than anticipated.