After crushing a rookie-record 53 homers in 2019 while slugging .583, Pete Alonso’s 2020 season was a relatively down one.
During the shortened 60-game season, Alonso slashed .231/.326/.490 with 16 homers in 57 games — a roughly 40 home run pace over a full season.
While Alonso’s numbers were respectable, he scuffled early before turning it on. And by then, the end of the season was rapidly approaching.
So what went wrong in 2020?
“I just wasn’t on time consistently. And for me I think that in Summer Camp, I just didn’t get enough at-bats that I would usually get in a regular spring training,” Alonso told reporters on Friday via Zoom. “I scuffled at the start of the season and then once I kind of got rolling a little bit we had a five-day quarantine. And then it took me a while to get back going again. Once I finally got going, the season was over.
“For me, I can’t put too much merit in that because I know it’s tough. Last year it was a very abnormal year. Not just baseball, but for all of us. I think that this is a year of resiliency. I’m just happy that we get to play 162 this year. Because for me, 60 games. … To me, it’s kind of the hand we were dealt. And for me, personally, I think that over the course of a 162-game season there’s a ton of ebbs and flows, highs and lows. But for me, I think that over the course of 162 games, I can’t wait for that.”
Alonso said he took about two weeks off after the season to reset his body and mind, and that he didn’t start baseball activity until after Christmas.
And while he knows the numbers “necessarily weren’t there in a 60-game season,” he’s excited about what he can do over 162 games in 2021.
“I feel like that once I get rolling, once I get in the flow, get in the groove over 162, I’m gonna be in a really good position to help this team win a lot of games. … I want to continue to be 2019 Pete, but also I hope I can be better,” he said. “Because for me, I want to keep performing and keep exceeding expectations.”
When it comes to building off the end of the 2020 season, when he got into a groove power-wise and hit five homers over the last 10 games, Alonso said part of his success will come from relaxing and accepting that there will sometimes be struggles.
“I learned to give myself a little bit of grace,” he said. “That’s kind of like the little bit of the mental part of the offseason where I feel like I’ve matured. Baseball is such a game of failure. In a 60-game season, failure is bound to happen. Whether it’s 162 or whatever. Failure is gonna happen.
“That (60) game sample — I know the numbers are there. Do I like all those numbers? No. Do I like some of those numbers? Yes. But I feel like that doesn’t define who I am as a player. I’m really happy that last year happened the way it did, because I feel like I’m very prepared for this year. Last year exposed a lot of things I needed to get better at. I’m ready to go. I’m ready to have fun and go out there and play.”