QUEENS, N.Y. -- The defensive work that Pete Alonso did would determine the course of his career, as was explained to him when he was in the minor leagues. There was high regard for his hit tool out of college, and his power and drive for improvement, but he was seen as just about unplayable at first base.
This was explained to him: If he was going to play for the New York Mets, he would have to establish himself as a viable defender. So as minor league instructor Tim Teufel began his work with Alonso, he asked Alonso for a name of a first baseman he wanted to emulate. Alonso responded: Paul Goldschmidt, the right-handed-throwing slugger for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
OK, we can work with that, Teufel responded, and together they watched a lot of video of Goldschmidt making plays at first base -- digging throws out of the dirt, making throws, lunging for grounders, the footwork around the bag. Teufel and Alonso spent about a month together working on it at the Mets' facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida.