Rookie Review: Can Yonder Alonso Take The Next Step, Or Is He The Next Hal Morris?

After he burst onto the scene with the Reds in 2011 (.330 with 5 HR in 88 AB), there were many who likely wanted to believe he could be the next “great” slugging first baseman. The minor league numbers and the move to Petco were irrelevant, he showed it on the big stage (though in an extremely small sample size), so that should be enough. The people who took that mindset were certainly disappointed in 2012:

549 At Bats
.273 Batting Average (150 Hits)
9 Home Runs
62 RBI
47 Runs
3 Stolen Bases
.348 On Base Percentage
.393 Slugging Percentage
.318 BABIP

What Alonso showed is what we really should’ve expected, and that is the ability to hit for a solid average. Considering his 23.7% line drive rate, you can easily argue that his BABIP was unlucky. Couple that with a 16.3% strikeout rate and it is easy to envision Alonso reaching .290+, with the potential to consistently eclipse the .300 mark.

The question is if he can start developing more power at 26-years old. Obviously the answer is yes, but it’s going to take some development. Last season he posted a 31.3% fly ball rate, hardly a number that is conducive to big home run totals. Nordoes there seem like there is much potential in his 6.4% HR/FB or his 3 HR at home.

That doesn’t mean it is impossible for him to mature into a bigger home run threat, but did 24 HR in 764 Triple-A AB really make us believe that he could? There were 55 doubles over that span, which is encouraging, but hardly enough.

With the type of average that is possible, seeing 85+ RBI is not unrealistic, though runs scored could be hard to come by given the Padres lineup and his lack of speed. We saw it in 2012 and its hard to imagine not seeing it again in 2013.

I think the best comparison may be to a player like Hal Morris, who routinely hit over .300 (career .304 hitter), but with little power (16 HR was his career high). There’s nothing wrong with that type of player, especially since Alonso can still develop more power and produce more extra base hits (leading to more RBI potential than Morris had, since his career high was 82).

That said, no matter how you slice it Alonso just isn’t going to be an ideal fantasy option for 2013 or beyond.  He just doesn’t offer enough upside.  Think .290 with 10-14 HR and 70-80 RBI.  They aren’t bad numbers, though a little bit of SB potential would help, but they are best suited for depth and nothing more.

What are your thoughts of Alonso?  Is he a player you would be willing to target for 2013?  Why or why not?

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One comment

  1. GT says:

    I think Alonso might be a bit undervalued going into 2013 because of his lack of power and underwhelming .273 batting average. If it weren’t for a June swoon (.218/.277/.264 weighed by a .257 BABIP) he could have finished batting .290 and we’d be talking about Alonso’s ’13 potential to hit .310, 40 doubles, and score 75 runs. Post hype sleeper

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