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Look: Pete Alonso Has Message For RBI Critics

New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso hits a baseball.

MIAMI, FLORIDA - JULY 14: Pete Alonso #20 of the New York Mets hits a RBI sacrifice fly in the eighth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on July 14, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Pete Alonso has powered the New York Mets' lineup with a National League-leading 97 RBI.

In decades past, that tally would have placed him at the forefront of the NL MVP conversation. However, MLB analysis has evolved to consider other metrics beyond the context-dependent stat of leading runners home.

On Saturday night, Alonso drove in the lone run of New York's 1-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. After the win, a reporter asked the first baseman how he perceived the stat's importance.

He maintained that people who don't value an RBI total "don't necessarily understand baseball."

"It's a run-scoring competition," Alonso said. "It's not a hit competition."

Alonso has 345 RBI since entering MLB in 2019, trailing only Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu. He's 28 RBI shy of setting a new franchise record, currently shared by Mets legends Mike Piazza and David Wright.

However, Alonso remains a considerable MVP longshot.

Boasting a .331/.414/.619 slash line, Paul Goldschmidt has had a better season than Alonso (.281/.361/.540). He may have driven in seven fewer runs, but he's scored 13 more.

While St. Louis Cardinals teammate Nolan Arenado has 73 RBI, he has a better weighted on-base average (.399) than Alonso (.376) while playing stellar defense at third base.

Unless collected via a home run, an RBI isn't an entirely individual effort. Alonso has benefitted from Brandon Nimmo, Starling Marte, and Francisco Lindor setting the table and giving him runners to drive home. 

Alonso is helping the Mets immensely by scoring those baserunners. It's just that RBI is one piece to the puzzle of evaluating a hitter's production.