New York Mets’ Slugger Pete Alonso Named National League Rookie of the Year

Pete Alonso is living proof that persistence pays off…

The 24-year-old part-Spanish American Major League Baseball player began the 2019 season fighting just to make the New York Mets‘ Opening Day roster. But he ends it as the National League Rookie of the Year after slugging a rookie record 53 home runs, driving in 120 runs and becoming a cult hero for Mets fans for his energy and enthusiasm and one memorable bare-chested postgame interview.

Pete Alonso

Alonso was a near unanimous selection of the award’s 30 voters, getting 29 first-place votes. Atlanta Braves starter Mike Soroka received the other first-place vote and finished second, with San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jrfinishing third.

Soroka posted a 2.68 ERA and won 13 games as the ace of the division-winning Braves. Tatis slashed .317/.379/.590 and dazzled fans with his defensive plays in the infield, but an injury ended his season at 84 games.

“To just win the award, doesn’t matter if it’s unanimous or not,” Alonso said on Monday night. “It’s still such a blessing.”

Alonso’s 53 home runs broke Aaron Judge‘s rookie record of 52 set in 2017, as Alonso became the sixth Rookie of the Year in Mets history, the first since Jacob deGrom in 2014. 

He joins Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Chris Davis as the only active players with 50 home runs in a season and he’s just the 30th player in MLB history to reach that mark. 

His 120 RBIs are the seventh most for a rookie in major league history and the most since Albert Pujols had 130 in 2001.

Alonso’s storybook season was no sure thing back in spring training, however. Although he led the minors with 39 home runs in 2018, the Mets had a glut of infielders with Robinson CanoJed LowrieTodd Frazier and Dominic Smith all in the mix at first, second and third base along with Alonso. There were also concerns about Alonso’s defense, and many teams start their top prospects in Triple-A for a couple of weeks to manipulate the player’s service time.

Alonso, however, earned a roster spot after hitting .352 with four home runs in spring training. It also helped that Lowrie and Frazier began the season on the injured list.

Alonso, a second-round pick in 2016 out of the University of Florida, ran with the opportunity, hitting .378 with six home runs in his first 12 games. He said he was challenged by first-year general manager Brodie Van Wagenento “show up in shape and earn your spot.”

“I felt like I answered the bell,” Alonso said.

He finished April with nine home runs, bashed 10 more in May and entered the All-Starbreak with 30 home runs. In Cleveland, he took home the $1 million prize for winning the Home Run Derby, upstaging fellow rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr.in the final round with a 23-22 victory after Guerrero had bashed 40 home runs in the semifinals.

“It’s survive and advance,” Alonso said after his win. “You’ve got to go in with kind of a killer instinct. It doesn’t matter how many you hit; you just need to have one more than the guy you’re facing.”

Alonso also won over fans when he pledged 5% of his winnings to the Wounded Warrior Projectand another 5% to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

Along the way, Alonso became a fan favorite, not just for his prodigious home runs — he hit 15 of at least 430 feet — but also for his infectious joy and his ability to win over New Yorkers. When the Mets began surging back into the playoff race in early August, he issued a not-safe-for-work rallying cry playing off the “Let’s go Mets!” chant. After a walk-off bases-loaded walk beat the Philadephia Phillies on September 6, Mets teammates ripped off Alonso’s jersey and he conducted interviews on SNY and MLB Network bare-chested.

“I’m not taking my shirt off for this one,” Alonso joked on MLB Network’s broadcast while accepting the award.

He wore custom-made cleats on September 11 to honor the victims of 9/11, even ordering a pair for each of his teammates. “For me, I just come from a place where I want to show support, not just for the victims but their families as well, because no one really knows how deep those emotional scars can be,” Alonso said at the time.

He smashed his 42nd home run on August 27, breaking the Mets’ team record shared by Carlos Beltran and Todd Hundley. With three games remaining in the regular season, Alonso was one homer away from tying Judge. He matched him with a home run at home against the Braves in Game 160 and then surpassed Judge in Game 161 with a third-inning home run off Mike Foltynewicz, a towering shot to right-center. Alonso raised both arms over his head in triumph, received hugs from teammates and a standing ovation from the crowd, and then he wiped tears from his eyes while playing first base the following inning.

“To me, it just means so much,” Alonso said after the game. “I didn’t know I was going to be overcome with all that emotion. At that point, I might as well just let it out.”

New York Yankees Slugger Giancarlo Stanton Hoping to Get Back on the Field by September

Giancarlo Stantonis hoping to fine tune his powerful swing for October…

Sidelined nearly all season, the 29-year-old part-Puerto Rican professional baseball player and New York Yankees slugger is hitting indoors and throwing as he rehabs from a sprained right knee that’s been slow to heal since he got hurt on June 25. 

Giancarlo Stanton

The next step will be jogging and running outside before ramping up baseball activities.

General manager Brian Cashman originally targeted August but now says the American League East leaders hope to get Stanton back sometime in September.

“Once I start moving around, just see how it bounces back. But I do want to have a few weeks of at-bats before October, for sure,” Stanton said. “I want to be out there for a couple weeks, just the game routine and having whatever amount of at-bats I can.”

The 2017 National League MVP said he’s confident he’ll return to health this season but has no particular date in mind.

“I’m doing everything I can to get there, so that’s what this process is and that’s what I’m working for,” the 29-year-old said.

“The deadline is when my knee is ready to play major league games,” Stanton added. “So if something happens to that, then I can always get at-bats, non-big league at-bats, but by close to big league pitching, to catch me up if need be. But that is the deadline — not any rush past when my knee is ready.”

Stanton strained his left biceps March 31 in his third game of the season, strained a shoulder and calf during his rehabilitation and returned June 18. He quickly went down again and is batting .290 with one home run and seven RBIs in nine games this year.

The outfielder and designated hitter was transferred to the 60-day injured list Sunday.

“It’s been brutal on my side, but it’s been really good to see the team playing so well. I mean, that’s what’s really kept it not so bad for me is just to watch everyone bringing together wins in all different type of ways, not one hero every night,” Stanton said. “That’s what I’ve been focusing on. Not poor me, all this stuff. I’m just watching how good we’ve been playing and just, what strategy for me to come file in. Not to just be back playing, but to get another little boost to what we’ve already been doing really well.”

Miami Marlins’ Star Giancarlo Stanton Named MLB’s National League MVP

Giancarlo Stanton is a National (League) hero…

The 28-year-old part-Puerto Rican baseball star, an outfielder for the Miami Marlins, won the National League MVP title, edging Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds in the closest vote since 1979.

Giancarlo Stanton

Stanton became only the sixth player to win from a losing team. The Marlins were 77-85.

“I’m so thankful it happened and I’m going to enjoy this and work to get better,” Stanton said on ESPN’s SportsCenter.

Stanton finished the season batting .281 with 168 hits, 59 HRs and 132 RBIs. His homer total was the most in the majors since 2001, when Barry Bonds hit a record 73 and Sammy Sosa had 64.

Stanton got 10 first-place votes and 302 points in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Votto also got 10 firsts and had 300 points.

“Just so close,” Votto said, according to MLB.com, after learning the outcome. “[I’m] really, really grateful for the support. I cannot believe how close it was. I just can’t believe coming up two points short. It’s so cool in a way coming up that short. Most of the time it’s a landslide or it’s clear. This wasn’t that. That was one of the entertaining aspects of it. Because Giancarlo and I did things so differently and because we’re both on losing clubs, it was for me a very interesting vote.”

“I don’t feel terribly disappointed, not really because I think that it was just two very, very good seasons that went head-to-head,” Votto said.

Stanton is the first player in Marlins history to win an MVP award.

He led the majors in home runs, RBI, extra-base hits and slugging percentage, each of which set a Marlins single-season record, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Votto topped the majors with a .454 on-base percentage. Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt was third in the voting.

The last player from a losing team to win an MVP was Alex Rodriguez, who took the AL award in 2003 with Texas. The last NL MVP from a losing team was Andre Dawson with the 1987 Chicago Cubs.

Stanton joins Dan Marino and LeBron James as the only Miami pro athletes in a major sport to win MVP.

“That’s definitely good company,” Stanton said.

Houston Astros Star Jose Altuve Wins Silver Slugger Award for Fourth Straight Season

It’s a grand slam, of sorts, for Jose Altuve

The 27-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball player, a second baseman for the World Series champion Houston Astros, is among the winners of this year’s Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Award.

Jose Altuve

The award goes to one player per league, per position and is selected by a vote of MLB coaches and managers.

Eleven of the 18 winners are under 30, including Altuve, who won for the fourth straight season.

But Altuve isn’t the only Astros player to make the list…

The 28-year-old Puerto Rican and Panamanian American baseball star, who became Major League Baseball All-Star for the first time this year, also earned a Silver Slugger Award.

Springer, an outfielder for the Astros, was named the 2017 World Series Most Valuable Player (MVP), hitting a record-tying five home runs as the Astros defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games.

All told, the eight first-time winners included outfielders Aaron Judge, Miami MarlinsMarcell Ozuna, Springer, Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez, New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez and pitcher Adam Wainwright. Like Altuve, San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey also won for the fourth time.

Outfielder Justin Upton and Seattle Mariners DH Nelson Cruz rounded out the American League winners. It was Upton’s third award and the second for Cruz.

The National League selections featured plenty of previous winners as first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado both won for the third time. Second baseman Daniel Murphy, shortstop Corey Seager and outfielders Charlie Blackmon and Miami Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton each won for the second time.

Selections are based on a combination of offensive stats, including batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage in addition to the managers’ and coaches’ views of a player’s overall offensive value.

Giancarlo Stanton Hits 55th Home Run, the Highest Homer Total in a Single Season Since 2006

Giancarlo Stanton is back to his home-run-hitting ways…

The 27-year-old part-Puerto Rican professional baseball player, a slugger with the Miami Marlins, slugged No. 55 on the season in the team’s 13-1 rout of the New York Mets.

Giancarlo Stanton

Batting third for the first time this year, Stanton’s three-run shot came off Mets right-hander Matt Harvey in the fourth inning.

It ended a six-game, 29-at-bat home run “drought” for the Marlins outfielder. That was the most games Stanton had gone without hitting a home run since a 14-game span from May 9 to 24.

“I thought he looked better, obviously,” manager Don Mattingly said.

Stanton’s homer total is the highest since Ryan Howard hit 58 in 2006. He added a run-scoring single in Miami’s seven-run fifth inning.

Stanton came into the game batting .147 in his previous 19 games. He has been rested and held out of the starting lineup three times in the past 10 games, including Sunday, when he asked to sit out. The break helped, he said.

“For sure, at this point,” Stanton said. “Early in the year when you have a day off, you kind of feel sluggish afterward. With all the miles we’ve tallied up through the year, it feels good to have them now.”

Giancarlo Stanton Hits MLB-Leading 54th Home Run of the Season

And the hits just keep coming for Giancarlo Stanton

The 27-year-old part-Puerto Rican professional baseball player hit his MLB-leading 54th home run of the season in the Miami Marlins‘ 6-5 loss to the Atlanta Braves.

Giancarlo Stanton

After being given a day off on Friday, Stanton hit the homer off rookie left-hander Max Fried in the first inning on Saturday night.

The ball would have traveled 456 feet unimpeded, according to MLB Statcast, and landed deep into the left-center seats.

Stanton’s 54 homers are the same number that Mark McGwire had through this date in 1999 and the same number Sammy Sosa had through this date in 2001, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Stanton has six homers against the Braves this season. He now has 15 more homers than New York Yankees rookie Aaron Judge and Oakland AthleticsKhris Davis, who were tied for second.

The previous Marlins record was 42 homers by Gary Sheffield in 1996.

Stanton Returns to the U.S. World Baseball Classic Roster

Giancarlo Stanton is back on Team USA

The 27-year-old part-Puerto Rican baseball star, a right fielder for the Miami Marlins, is among the returnees on the 28-man U.S. World Baseball Classic roster, which also includes Colorado Rockies‘ Nolan Arenado, Arizona Diamondbacks‘ Paul Goldschmidt, San Francisco Giants‘ Buster Posey and Pittsburgh Pirates‘ Andrew McCutchen.

Giancarlo Stanton

The roster, announced Wednesday by USA Baseball, includes 18 All-Stars, two MVPs and nine Gold Glove winners.

Stanton, a three-time Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star, won the Silver Slugger Award and National League Hank Aaron Award in 2014.

Stanton was the Home Run Derby champion in 2016.

Stanton Hits Record 61 Homers to Win All-Star Home Run Derby

Giancarlo Stanton is this year’s Home Run King…

The 26-year-old part-Puerto Rican baseball star put on a record display of power at Petco Park during the All-Star Home Run Derby on Monday night, peppering every landmark from the left field corner to center field.

Giancarlo Stanton

Stanton hit 20 homers in the final round to beat out defending champion Todd Frazier of the Chicago White Sox. Overall, the Miami Marlins slugger hit a record 61, shattering the single-night mark of 41 by Bobby Abreu in 2005.

Stanton’s impressive shots hit the top level of the Western Metal Supply Co. Building in the left-field corner and the top of the batter’s eye in center field.

He sent several balls just below the giant scoreboard high atop the left-field stands and several over the bullpens in left-center.

“For sure, being on the West Coast and taking the flight out here just for this, you know. I figure it’s a waste if I don’t bring this bad boy home,” Stanton said, hoisting the trophy.

The three-time All-Star is not on the National League roster for Tuesday night’s game after batting .233 with 20 homers and 50 RBIs before the break.

“I had a great time. I had a blast.”

His longest shot was estimated at 497 feet. He hit the eight longest homers of the competition and 20 of the 21 deepest drives.

“When I get a few in a row I would kind of bump it up 5 to 10 percent,” he said. “But most the time I stuck at 80-90 percent. I knew I could do it endurance-wise. I was just hoping my swing didn’t fall about.”

Stanton can defend his title at home next year when the Marlins host the All-Star Game.

“That is where I got my childhood memories, watching the Home Run Derby as a kid,” said Stanton, who’s from Los Angeles.

“Maybe some kids are watching me. I would like to return that.”

Stanton is baseball’s highest-paid player with a $325 million, 13-year deal. His new hitting coach is home run king Barry Bonds.

Stanton hit 24 homers in the first round to eliminate the Seattle MarinersRobinson Cano (seven) and 17 in the semifinals to knock out Mark Trumbo (14) of the Baltimore Orioles.

Frazier hit 13 in the first round to beat Carlos Gonzalez (12) of the Colorado Rockies, and 16 in the semifinals to eliminate Adam Duvall (15) of the Reds.

Arrieta to Bare All in ESPN the Magazine’s annual The Body Issue

He may play for the Chicago Cubs, but that doesn’t mean Jake Arrieta isn’t afraid to show he’s also a Chicago Bare

ESPN has released the starting lineup for ESPN the Magazines annual The Body Issue, in which the world’s top athletes take off all their clothes and pose for photographs that help celebrate the athletic form.

Jake Arrieta

And the 30-year-old part-Puerto Rican baseball star, the MLB wins leader in 2015, has made the cut, along with UFC fighter Conor McGregor, U.S. women’s national soccer team member Christen Press, Super Bowl MVP Von Miller and Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade.

Arrieta, who is following up his 2015 Cy Young Award-winning season with an impressive 2016 campaign, is a well-known fitness fanatic. He’s lauded the use of Pilates as part of his remarkable comeback story. He currently has an 11-1 record with a sparkling 1.74 ERA for the Cubs in 14 starts this season.

The Body issue will also feature the first transgender athlete to appear in its pages, American duathlete Chris Mosier. Retired diver Greg Louganis — at age 56 — is the issue’s oldest.

“HIV taught me that I’m a lot stronger than I ever believed I was,” Louganis said. “I didn’t think I would see 30, and here I am at 56.”

ESPN hasn’t released the full listyet, but has said the issue will include ten men and nine women.

Arrieta is the latest Latino athlete to be featured in ESPN the Magazine’s The Body Issue, including Major League Soccer star Omar Gonzalez, Miami Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton and futbolista Carlos Bocanegra.

Escobar Named a Starter for the 2015 MLB All-Star Game

Alcides Escobar is having a season to remember…

The 28-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball shortstop is one of four Kansas City Royals players named American League starters for the 2015 MLB All-Star Game being hosted by the Cincinnati Reds.

Alcides Escobar

Escobar, a first year pick, will be joined by his teammates Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain (outfielders) and Salvador Perez (catcher) as Royals reps for this year’s All-Star Game.

Much was said of the potential ballot-stuffing being done by Kansas City fans, but ultimately only four players from the AL Central leaders made it to the starting lineup. Long a doormat in the AL, the Royals have more starters this season than in the previous 25 years combined.

“It’s just been the support of our fans, really, over the last two years,” said Gordon, making his third straight All-Star appearance. “Winning brings attention and that’s what we’ve been doing. I think we play with a lot of energy, a lot of fun. People have noticed it.”

While the Royals may have led the way with the most players per team, the leading vote-getter came from north of the border.

Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson set a new record for all-time single-season voting with over 14 million total votes cast. Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper led all National League selections by garnering 13.9 million votes.

Only two teams placed multiple players on the All-Star rosters, the Royals, who won the AL pennant last season, and the Miami Marlins, who entered Sunday eight games under .500 and 11 games back in the NL East.

Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon and outfielder Giancarlo Stanton were both voted to the NL squad, though Stanton won’t play in the Midsummer Classic.

Stanton, who signed a $325 million contract this offseason to stay in Miami, is on the disabled list with a broken bone in his hand. He’ll join Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (calf) and St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday (quad) as All-Star starters who are on the DL.

The Reds will host the All-Star Game for the first time since 1988 and will be represented by Todd Frazier, who was voted the NL team’s starting third baseman.

“I was really nervous. I was excited. It was a huge comeback,” said Frazier, who went from trailing the Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter by 2.5 million votes in June to winning the starting nod by 2.1 million. “I’m pretty much on Cloud Nine.”

All-Star pitchers, reserves and the finalists for the Final Vote will be announced Monday.

Royals manager Ned Yost and San Francisco Giants skipper Bruce Bochy will helm the AL and NL teams, respectively, when the 2015 All-Star Game is played Tuesday, July 14.

“We’re going to have a blast,” Yost said. “The All-Star Game is an experience you never forget, and to do it with so many of our teammates there is really special.”

In addition to Escobar, Perez and Cabrera, other Latino players selected as All-Star Game starters are Jose Altuve, Nelson Cruz and Jhonny Peralta.

 

2015 MLB All-Star Game Starters
AL POS. NL
Miguel Cabrera, DET 1B Paul Goldschmidt, ARI
Jose Altuve, HOU 2B Dee Gordon, MIA
Alcides Escobar, KC SS Jhonny Peralta, STL
Josh Donaldson, TOR 3B Todd Frazier, CIN
Salvador Perez, KC C Buster Posey, SF
Mike Trout, LAA OF Bryce Harper, WAS
Lorenzo Cain, KC OF Giancarlo Stanton, MIA
Alex Gordon, KC OF Matt Holliday, STL
Nelson Cruz, SEA DH N/A