The regular season is over and hours have passed since the Mets packed their clubhouse belongings into cardboard boxes. But Pete Alonso can’t help it. He still finds ways to make headlines.
Alonso has been named the National League Rookie of the Month for September, marking the first time in Mets franchise history a rookie has won three such awards in the same season. Alonso also won the award in April and June this year.
The 24-year-old posted a slash line of .248/.327/.604 with 21 runs scored, 25 hits, three doubles, 11 home runs, 19 RBI and 10 walks across 26 games this month.
He finished his historic rookie year with 53 home runs on the season, the most by a rookie in MLB history — eclipsing Aaron Judge’s record of 52 homers set during his AL ROY-winning campaign in 2017. Alonso also became the first rookie in MLB history to pace the majors in home runs, as well as the first Mets player, regardless of age, to accomplish the feat.
“To be a part of Major League Baseball history, to be number one out of every single guy to play the game, it's humbling and it's such a ridiculously awesome feeling,” Alonso said on Saturday after recording his 53rd home run of the season.
Alonso became the eighth player in franchise history to amass at least 100 runs scored and 100 RBI in a single season, and the first rookie to do so. He established rookie franchise records with 120 RBI, 103 runs scored and 154 hits.
He is the front-runner to win Rookie of the Year honors after a historic first season with the Mets. Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. produced offensive numbers that stacked up to Alonso’s incredible year before the 20-year-old sustained a season-ending back injury in August. Alonso has a solid chance of winning the NL ROY unanimously.
"It's something you see on a daily basis,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said of Alonso becoming one of the team’s leaders this season. “I think he does everything the right way and he only cares about winning.”
Padres right-handed pitcher Chris Paddack felt slighted after Alonso won his first Rookie of the Month award in April. Alonso crushed nine home runs to go with a 1.024 OPS in the first full month of the regular season, while Paddack flashed a 1.91 ERA over six starts.
“Does he deserve (the Rookie of the Month honor)? Absolutely," Paddack told reporters then. "But I’m coming for him. Do I wish it was me? Yeah. But the way I look at it is, do you want to be Rookie of the Month or Rookie of the Year? We’ll see.”
Paddack’s comments proposed a tight race to the NL ROY finish line. But the Padres rookie pitcher could not sustain his early-season efficiency. He finished his rookie campaign with a 3.33 ERA over 140.2 innings. Paddack did not garner a single Rookie of the Month honor.
Alonso, ever-confident, added fuel to the fire in May after going 0-for-3 against Paddack. But Alonso got the last laugh after compiling a storybook rookie season.
“I’m happy to win (the Rookie of the Month)," Alonso said in May. "If he was mad about that, there’s five other months… Also, he said something about winning the Rookie of the Year. That would be nice, but I’m trying to win a World Series.”