Prospect of the Day: Yonder Alonso, OF-1B, Cincinnati Reds
The trade of Jonny Gomes from the Cincinnati Reds to the Washington Nationals opens up a spot for prospect Yonder Alonso, promoted from Triple-A to take control of the left field spot. Reds fans and fantasy owners have been waiting awhile for him, and his time is now.
Alonso was drafted by the Reds in the first round in 2008, following his career at the University of Miami. He was a three-year starter for the Hurricanes, hitting .295/.373/.492 as a freshman, .376/.519/.705 as a sophomore, and .370/.534/.777 as a junior, escalating his production each year. The seventh-overall pick in the draft, he signed late and got into just six pro games that year. A broken hamate limited him to just 85 games in 2009, though he hit .well with a .292/.374/.464 mark between High-A and Double-A. Alonso hit .290/.362/.458 last year between Double-A and Triple-A, and was hitting .296/.374/.486 for Louisville this year.
In 313 minor league games, Alonso has hit .293/.370/.466 with 148 walks and 203 strikeouts in 1340 plate appearances. This includes 192 games in Triple-A, with a .296/.364/.478 mark, 24 homers, 83 walks, and 136 strikeouts in 854 plate appearances. He went 6-for-29 (.207) with 10 strikeouts in 22 major league games last year, but the sample is tiny and given his minor league track record, no one is holding that against him.
Alonso is a 24-year old left-handed hitter and right-handed thrower, listed at 6-2, 240. He's a decent defender at first base, but is blocked at that position by Joey Votto. His arm isn't bad in an outfield corner, but his lack of mobility gives him below average range.
The Reds will live with his defensive limitations if he hits as expected. He had problems with left-handed pitching earlier in his career, but this hasn't been an issue lately. Indeed, he's actually hit lefties better this year (.907 OPS) than right-handers ( .839). He has good plate discipline and pop to all fields, and has made the necessary adjustments to handle advanced breaking balls and changeups.
Although Alonso doesn't have the broad-base Five Tool/Seven Skill talents, he should hit for power and provide a solid OBP and batting average.