Mets slugger Pete Alonso selected to third straight All-Star Game

PITTSBURGH — Not many fastballs get by Pete Alonso, but the Mets managed to pull a fast one on their first baseman Sunday morning in Pittsburgh.

Pitchers and reserves were named to the 2024 MLB All-Star Game on Sunday, and the Mets received word that Alonso was selected by a group of players, managers and coaches to represent the NL squad as a reserve. Manager Carlos Mendoza played it cool, asking Alonso to come talk to him in his PNC Park office.

“I was kind of confused,” Alonso said after the Mets’ 3-2 comeback win over the Pirates. “He was like, ‘I need to talk to you,’ acting all serious.”

The manager then dropped the poker face and informed the first baseman that he was going to his third straight All-Star Game and the fourth of his career. Alonso was thrilled.

“I honestly didn’t know what to expect,” Alonso said. “I didn’t know what to expect, but it was good. It’s a nice surprise.”

It was fitting, considering Alonso takes the All-Star Game as seriously as any other. The midsummer classic hasn’t lost any luster for the two-time Home Run Derby champ, who is just as honored this time around as he was in 2019 when he became an All-Star for the first time.

Alonso can thank his peers for the trip to Texas. Through the first half of the season, the “Polar Bear” has slashed .243/.325/.467 with a team-leading 18 home runs and OPS+ of 129. His .467 slugging percentage ranks second on the team behind J.D. Martinez, and his 48 RBI are the second-most behind Brandon Nimmo‘s 52.

But this is where his selection becomes somewhat controversial. Alonso has had a good season, but not a great one — at least not yet. Nimmo and Francisco Lindor own higher WAR totals than Alonso and have arguably had better numbers at the plate.

Alonso also beat out Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Christian Walker, whose 2.9 fWAR is tied for the ninth-highest in the league.

However, his selection makes it clear that other players around the league recognize just how important Alonso is to the Mets.

“This is a guy that can carry us,” Mendoza said. “I like the at-bats as of late and I think he’s making progress as far as the chases go. But the impact is there. He’s a game changer when he’s at the plate. Anything can happen and you feel good about your chances when he’s up there.”

Nimmo and Lindor were snubbed for the second year in a row. Much like last season, Lindor started slow before coming on hot at the start of the summer.

Lindor and Nimmo switched spots in the batting order, with Lindor moving to the leadoff spot a few months ago. It worked: Lindor’s 3.3 fWAR is tied for the seventh-highest in the NL and Nimmo’s 2.8 fWAR is tied for the 12th-best total.

Both are happy for Alonso and still holding out hope to be selected as replacements.

“That’s not up to me, that’s up to the people that actually vote for all of us,” Lindor said. “I would love to go, yeah, but I’m happy for Pete, like I said because he definitely serves it and it’s going to be a great show for him and his family.

“I think the All-Star Game is the best event of the summer.”

Nimmo was not shy about saying he feels slighted.

“My numbers speak for themselves, so I don’t really attribute it to anything,” Nimmo said. “Honestly, I’ve done what I can do. I’m just not winning the popularity contest right now. So that’s the way it goes, you know? But I’m pretty proud of where my numbers are right now, and I think they’re All-Star-worthy.”

With Mookie Betts and Fernando Tatis Jr. out of action due to injuries, Nimmo and Lindor could end up taking their spots.

The Texas Rangers will host this year’s All-Star Game on July 16 at Globe Life Field in Arlington. The Mets will also be represented in the Futures Game by right-handed starting pitching prospect Brandon Sproat.

“It’s really exciting and it’s really elite company,” Alonso said. “It’s such an honor, and I’m very humbled and very happy to partake.”

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