Mets rookie Peter Alonzo has been hijacking Vlad Guerrero Jr.’s coming out party all season long.
Mets rookie Peter Alonzo has been doing the same thing all season — stealing shines. He’s not chain-snatching, just idol crushing as he swiped the show from two of the most heralded rookies to enter MLB in years with his 30 homers and rookie-record 68 RBI by the All-Star break.
On Monday night, he proved his ilk again by defeating fellow rookie Vlad Guerrero Jr. on All-Star Weekend’s grandest stage.
— New York Mets (@Mets) July 9, 2019
Rookie Fernando Tatis Jr. and Vlad Jr. were already household names and projected superstars when they entered the League.
Social media shows them love on a daily basis, mostly off of the strength of their former MLB playing Dads. Alonzo was highly touted but nobody said he was a sure-fire All-Star. He also doesn’t have the entire Latino community in the US and abroad, cheering his every move.
Alonzo doesn’t mind crashing the party and messing up people’s best-laid plans. That’s what he’s been doing all season. Last night, he even doubled his salary in the process
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Pete Alonso each will make $555,000 this year.
One of them will get $1 million tonight for winning the Home Run Derby.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 9, 2019
It was supposed to be the year of the second-generation baseball stars, but despite their success, Alonzo’s historic season takes precedence.
Guerrero Jr. is yet to prove his superiority on the field, but most baseball heads thought that he’d separate himself from Alonzo and the rest of the pack in the 2019 Home Run Derby, by winning and exhibiting the freakish power that he’s known for. It was supposed to be Junior’s coming out party.
And for most of Monday night at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Guerrero’s raw power and launch angle ruled the narrative.
But somehow, despite hitting an MLB Home Run Derby record 91 homers throughout the night, when it came down to money time, Guerrero was gassed from slamming all of those homers in the early rounds.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit 91 homers on Monday. Tigers have 77 this season. https://t.co/wpG77zKVM2
— Detroit Free Press (@freep) July 9, 2019
A well-rested Alonzo came out of nowhere and defeated the Toronto Blue Jays third baseman 23-22 in the final round to take the Derby. Alonzo absorbed some of Vlad Jr.’s glory as he has all season. The night was supposed to be all about the son of a Hall of Famer following in his father’s footsteps.
It was similar to 2008 when enigmatic Josh Hamilton stole the show by belting a first-round record 28 home runs in the old Yankees Stadium, including a run of 13 on consecutive swings. Only one player had ever hit that many in a full Derby before (Bobby Abreu, 41 in 2005).
Not too many people remember that Justin Morneau, however, saved his energy and took home the night’s top prize, but seeing him raise the trophy had to be confusing to those in attendance who were captivated by Hamilton’s power surge.
In Vlad Jr.’s case, the announcers raved about him, comparing him to Aaron Judge at one point. Junior played perfectly to the moment, crushing his opponent Matt Chapman 29-13 in the first round.
29 homers in the first round for Vlad Guerrero Jr.
— ESPN (@espn) July 9, 2019
Meanwhile, Alonzo played the tortoise to Vlad Jr.’s hare , doing just enough to defeat Carlos Santana 14-13, rather than give the fans a show like Vlad obviously tried to do. By the time the two rookies met in the faceoff Vlad Jr. was gassed and Alonzo had his best round.
In the end, Alonzo’s strategy worked. While Vlad Jr. was the star of the evening as he’s been this entire MLB season, Alonzo beat him in the finals and quietly took the crown, same as he’s done as the lethal-hitting rookie leading the stepchild New York Mets. A great feat, but will anyone remember that Vlad Jr. didn’t win 10 years from now? Probably not.