Mets wrap up Day 1 with slugging 1B Alonso

Mets wrap up Day 1 with slugging 1B Alonso

NEW YORK -- The Mets continued their pillaging of the college ranks late Thursday night, selecting University of Florida first baseman Pete Alonso with their second-round pick, No. 64 overall.

Alonso, 21, hit .368 with 12 home runs in 53 games this season, tapping into the right-handed power that amateur scouts have long projected of him. The Mets selected another Florida product, collegiate home run king David Thompson, in the fourth round out of Miami last year. Alonso fits a similar profile: big, hulking power from the right side of the plate.

"Physically, this is a really strong man," scouting director Tommy Tanous said.

Strong enough, Tanous noted, to hit 12 home runs despite missing nearly a month with a hand injury. But also skilled enough to lead the third-ranked Gators in batting average (.368) and on-base percentage (.464). The native of Tampa, Fla., struck out just 30 times in 193 at-bats, with 29 walks. It helps, of course, that with the Mets, Alonso will not need to face Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom or any of their other vaunted young pitchers -- "that's kind of cool," he said on a conference call early Friday morning, as he prepared for Florida's College World Series Super Regional.

Not that Alonso would face those pitchers without a plan.

"This is one of the better power hitters in the country," Tanous said. "The trick to the power hitter is, is he going to get to that power? Is he going to hit enough to get to that power? Peter's also a really good hitter. His knowledge of the strike zone, his ability to attack a baseball, his path is fairly short from his swing -- this is a bigger guy with a shorter swing. And it usually translates into success."

The selection of Alonso capped a night in which the Mets drafted college players with each of their three picks. That's a departure from years past, when they opted for riskier selections, such as Brandon Nimmo, Gavin Cecchini and Dominic Smith, who have spent years climbing the organization's prospect ladder. By contrast, Alonso, No. 19 pick Justin Dunn and No. 31 selection Anthony Kay can progress more quickly through the farm system.

"It just kind of played out that way," Tanous said. "We did not come into this Draft saying we were going to take ... anything in particular, just the best players available, as we've always done. As the Draft went on, these were the best players."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.