Pete Alonso’s sophomore season fell well short of his historic rookie campaign, but a fellow Mets fan favorite believes big things are ahead in 2021.
Keith Hernandez, who knows all about finding fame in New York, joined Moose & Maggie on Tuesday to discuss the big season that awaits Alonso after he stumbled through a shortened sophomore season where his OPS dropped nearly 130 points.
“I think when you come up as a rookie and tear it up like he did, which was just record-breaking…and then you come back the next year, things kind of happen in a rookie season and they just snowball and you have a tough spring training in your sophomore year with expectations,” Hernandez said. “And if it doesn’t start out right, you have a season that was interrupted and started late and a lot of negative things.”
Hernandez didn’t experience the sophomore struggles that Alonso endured, actually raising his OPS from .671 to .803 in 1976 as he turned himself into an eventual All-Star for the Cardinals, but he believes Alonso will turn the page in 2021 and get back to what made him the National League Rookie of the Year in 2019, when he set a rookie record with 53 home runs.
“I think Pete lost his confidence and got down, but he’s had a whole winter to shake that season off,” Hernandez said. “It’s a fresh start. I like his attitude going in.”
Hernandez, who watches nearly every Mets game from the SNY broadcast booth, saw a more anxious Alonso at the plate in 2020, an observation backed up by Alonso’s 52.2 chase miss rate, up from 41.7 percent in 2019, per Statcast.
“He just started chasing balls in and out of the strike zone,” Hernandez said. “That’s just pressing. Everything speeds up.”
For Alonso, Hernandez believes a quick start would be the perfect antidote for last season’s struggles and return him to the stardom he enjoyed as a rookie.
“It’s a fresh start,” Hernandez said. “Nothing would be better for Pete than a tremendous April just to take that pressure off and get rolling.”
Listen to Hernandez’s full interview with Moose & Maggie below!