Tag Archives: Yonder Alonso

Prospect Reviews: Season in Review Part 3


Back in January and February, I reviewed 30 minor league prospects, and made some predictions. With the season over at the Minor League level and nearly over at the Major League level, I figured now was a great time to look back at how I did. I posted my thoughts on the first 20 prospects Tuesday and Wednesday, and will look at the final 10 today.

Tony Sanchez (PIT)

The Pirates were really looking cheap when they drafted Sanchez, but he has shown a fair amount of talent at this point. My prediction back in January: .320/.390/.490, 12 HR, 65 RBI (Split between High-A and AA). He ended up hitting .314/.416/.454 with 4 HR and 35 RBI in just 59 games due to injury. I think he’s going to end up a lot higher on prospect charts for 2011 and hopefully he’ll be able to stay healthy the whole season.

Chris Carter (OAK)

I really thought that Carter would come up sometime around mid-season, and he just didn’t hit well enough to unseat Daric Barton. He hit 31 homeruns and drove in 94, but the .258 batting average really profiles him to be a Mark Reynolds-type power hitter who will strike out quite a bit. I think that the Athletics will find somewhere for him to play next season at the Majors, simply because they have so few power hitters in their lineup.

Jaff Decker (SD)

Decker did not have the greatest season, and was definitely not within what I had predicted either: .305/.395/.495, 15 HR, 65 RBI, 8 stolen bases (High-A and AA). He spent the season only at High-A, missing part of the year due to injury. The batting line was a bit lower (.262/.374/.500), but the power is better than I thought (17 HR, 58 RBI). I think he will be a bit better next season since he should have recovered from the injury, but it concerns me that the batting average was so low in the California League.

Jenrry Mejia (NYM)

The Mets really messed with his development this season, having him work out of the bullpen to start the season before finally moving him back to the minors to work as a starting pitcher. I think that he’s going to be in the rotation come 2011 for the Mets, and that he will have some control issues (16 walks in 42 minor league innings, 20 walks in 39 major league innings).

Kyle Drabek (TOR)

Drabek pitched extremely well at AA over the span of the season, going 14-9 with a 2.94 ERA and 132 strikeouts. The 68 walks in 162 innings is concerning, and much worse than I had predicted (40 walks in 145 innings). He earned himself a few starts at the Major League level at the end of the season, but I think he’s going to be in AAA next year, at least to start out with.

Brett Lawrie (MIL)

I thought that Lawrie would post this line at AA: .270/.340/.440, 17 HR, 75 RBI, 15 stolen bases. His actual line: .285/.346/.451, 8 HR, 63 RBI, 30 stolen bases. Clearly overestimated the power, and clearly underestimated the speed. It remains to be seen where Lawrie will play once he gets to the Majors, but he seems likely to be at AAA to start next year and should earn a callup if he continues to hit like he did in 2010.

Chris Withrow (LAD)

In February I wrote that I thought he would do well if he could improve his control, and predicted the following: 9-7, 3.75 ERA, 145 IP, 150 strikeouts, 55 walks. Well, it appears that he did not improve his control, as he went 4-9 with a 5.97 ERA, 129 2/3 IP, 120 strikeouts but 69 walks. I think that honestly, Withrow should repeat AA to try and get his walks better under control.

Casey Kelly (BOS)

Kelly was in his first full season of only pitching and not trying to play shortstop, and I really thought he would do well: 10-7, 3.20 ERA, 135 IP, 115 strikeouts, 25 walks. Oops. His actual line: 3-5, 5.31 ERA, 95 IP, 81 strikeouts, 35 walks. I think that the Red Sox will probably leave him in AA to start 2011, and show some solid numbers before moving him up again.

Yonder Alonso (CIN)

Alonso remains a bit blocked, despite hitting .296/.355/.470 with 12 homers, 56 runs batted in, and 9 stolen bases in just 101 AAA games. Joey Votto has clearly established himself as the 1B for the team at this point, and Alonso’s future with the organization clearly lies in the outfield. Whether or not he can play the position at the Major League level will determine whether he is traded in the next year.

Jacob Turner (DET)

I came into my Turner post with no idea, and made this prediction: 10 K/9 IP, 3 BB/9 IP. What he actually did: around 9 K/9 IP, sub 2 BB/9 IP. He split the year between Low and High A, and I think that he will either start the season at High A again or could even see a promotion to AA. One of the better prospects in the minors at this point.

Prospect Reviews: Midseason Review – Majors and AAA


As we approach the Major League All-Star break, I’ve seen quite a few of the prospects I reviewed back in January who have already made an impact in the show.

Note: Each of these players are listed under the level that they are currently at, but will include their stats at all levels. All statistics are through Saturday’s games, and courtesy of Baseball Reference.

Majors

Carlos Santana (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
AAA 57 .316 .447 .597 39 13 51 6
Majors 20 .313 .438 .641 11 4 15 0

Carlos was called up on June 11th, and has continued to hit at a torrid pace ever since. I wrote back in mid-May that I thought he would be called up sometime after the expected Super-Two deadline, and that is pretty much exactly what happened. Over at FakeTeams, I ranked Santana as my 5th best catcher for the remainder of the season, and I think that’s probably pretty accurate. He’s going to continue to hit for an excellent average, and the power looks legitimate, even if there is some minor regression. At the end of last season, I owned the rights to both Carlos Santana and Buster Posey in my 14-team keeper league. During our minor league draft, I traded Posey for Ryan Westmoreland and a draft pick towards the end of the draft. That pick? Used to take Michael Pineda.

Mike Stanton (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
AA 53 .313 .442 .729 42 21 52 1
Majors 20 .218 .271 .333 10 2 13 3

Stanton was called up on June 8th, in a much quieter debut than the other major rookie on that date, Stephen Strasburg. Stanton hasn’t quite shown the power in the Majors that he did in his minor league career to this point, but that was probably asking a bit much of the rookie. The 3 stolen bases to this point seem a bit out of place, as he only had 8 total in his 4 minor league seasons, but that could just be a fluke. I think that realistically he’s going to continue to experience some growing pains, and until the strikeouts get a bit more under control (33 so far in only 78 at bats), he’s going to continue to struggle.

Buster Posey (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
AAA 47 .349 .442 .552 3 6 32 1
Majors 29 .308 .330 .423 12 2 11 0

Posey was called up on May 29th, but strangely it was to play 1B for the most part. The Giants’ main concern was to get the top prospect’s bat into the lineup, and not worry too much about having him catch immediately. He has been playing nearly every day, but has only just now started to catch every day with the trade of former starting catcher Bengie Molina to the Giants. I will be interested to see how he continues to hit now that he will be catching every day, and it will be interesting to see if there is any impact on the pitching staff. Posey has been widely touted for his ability to work with a pitching staff, but until it actually happens there is always the chance of something going wrong.

Jason Heyward (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
Majors 71 .251 .366 .455 41 11 45 5

Heyward is currently on the disabled list for the Braves, after a thumb injury that occurred late in May apparently, but did not sideline him until late June. This is probably at least a part of the explanation as to why Heyward struggled so much in the month of June.  He was the prohibitive favorite to win the NL Rookie of the Year award after the month of May, but if he is out for an extended period of time, this race could pretty easily get away from him with as many good rookies as there are this season.

Starlin Castro (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
AA 26 .376 .421 .569 20 1 20 4
Majors 50 .269 .332 .365 17 2 18 1

Castro has been a bit of an enigma to this point in his Major League career. It was a big surprise that he was called up when he was, but it was thought he would be able to adapt pretty easily despite being only 20 years old. His average has been solid, but not amazing. But his power seems to have disappeared entirely, and his speed is not far behind it. The part that really concerns me about Castro is the fact that in 50 games, he already has 11 errors. Granted, you can’t get errors on balls you don’t make a play on, so this partially could be the reason he has so many. It seems unlikely to me at this point that the Cubs would send him down to improve, as the Cubs are going nowhere this season.

Brian Matusz (Writeup)

Level G W L SV ERA IP K WHIP
Majors 16 2 9 0 4.90 93.2 70 1.441

Matusz, it was hoped, would help to lead this team’s pitching staff this season along with veteran Kevin Millwood. Unfortunately, the Orioles’ offense and defense forgot to help with that. Matusz has a league worst 9 losses this season, but there are signs of hope. He has a strikeout rate of 6.83 per 9 innings, and his FIP is lower than his ERA (4.25 vs. 4.90), so there does appear to be hope for Matusz. Until this team starts hitting like they mean it, it’s probably going to be some tough-luck losses in the future for Brian Matusz.

AAA

Desmond Jennings (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
AAA 59 .298 .374 .428 45 1 21 20

Jennings has missed some time this season due to an injury, and it appears that the Rays are extremely unlikely to call him up this season. The Rays have done well with their starting outfield of Carl Crawford, B.J. Upton, and Ben Zobrist, and have had both Matt Joyce and Sean Rodriguez fill in as necessary. Jennings still looks like an elite prospect, and seems like to be up at the start of the 2011 season, as Crawford is still a free agent at the end of the season and seems unlikely to be resigned due to money concerns. I still think Jennings is an elite prospect, although I am wondering how long until the power comes.

Jesus Montero (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
AAA 74 .248 .319 .410 30 6 33 0

Back in January, I wrote that I thought the best thing for the Yankees to do with Montero would be to continue to leave him in the minors and allow him to develop as a catcher, so that they could use him as the long-term replacement to Jorge Posada following Posada’s eventual retirement. At this point, I would say that they need to figure out a different position for him long term. Montero is probably not ever going to be an elite caliber catcher, and with the Yankees having 3 excellent catching prospect also in the minors (Austin Romine, Gary Sanchez, J.R. Murphy) in addition to Montero, they can probably work on letting him hit and just assume he is likely to end up either in the outfield or as a DH.

Domonic Brown (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
AA 65 .318 .391 .602 50 15 47 12
AAA 11 .395 .415 .711 6 3 10 1

Brown is a player who is vaulting himself to the top of prospect rankings with his amazing performance down at AA. Clearly, if he can continue a majority of the pace he is on so far, he looks like he will be a perennial 30-30 threat with a high batting average. There have been rumors that the Phillies may try to move Jayson Werth to help improve other areas of the team and insert Brown into the everyday RF job, but that seems a bit rushed. I would like to see the Phillies leave Brown down at AAA for the rest of the season, and give him the opportunity to win the RF job out of Spring Training in 2011.

Dan Hudson (Writeup)

Level G W L SV ERA IP K WHIP
AAA 16 11 3 0 3.57 88.1 102 1.211

Hudson has done everything that the White Sox had hoped and more, but unfortunately no one in the starting rotation is really pitching all that badly. The White Sox are correct to leave him down there starting if that is what they hope to use him for long-term, and at some point he is likely to get a shot. It would help if the Sox would fall out of the race, but Hudson could potentially be moved for a short-term piece if they think they still have a chance to win it all this season. I’m not sure where that would come from, but stranger things have happened.

Chris Carter (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
AAA 81 .242 .346 .497 55 17 58 0

Carter has been a bit of an enigma so far at AAA. The power is still there, although not to the same extent has it had been in AA. The batting average is clearly not where he was in AA, but with the amount of strikeouts that he normally racks up, this isn’t that much of a surprise. The concerning part to me is two fold – He hasn’t even attempted a stolen base this season after trying 19 times with 13 successes. Also, the strikeout rate has gotten worse, as he already has 94 strikeouts in only 81 games. The A’s don’t have a place to play him right now at the Major League level, and realistically, he’s not shown that he’s ready for it either. If the A’s were in the heat of the pennant race, they might have brought him up to provide some pop to the lineup, but since they aren’t, I don’t think he sees Oakland this season except when he passes it in his car.

Yonder Alonso (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
AA 31 .267 .388 .406 19 3 13 4
AAA 51 .246 .283 .365 17 4 28 3

Alonso has become the subject of some trade rumors for the Reds, as he realistically should be a first baseman at the Major League level. Unfortunately, that position is manned by a potential MVP candidate in Joey Votto, and looks like it will be for quite some time. The Reds have been trying him in the outfield, but it appears that may be at least somewhat affecting his ability to hit at AAA, as he has struggled so far.

Michael Pineda (Writeup)

Level G W L SV ERA IP K WHIP
AA 13 8 1 0 2.22 77 78 1.091
AAA 3 2 0 0 2.37 19 26 0.842

Pineda came into the season as a bit of an unknown, but is now rocketing up the prospect rankings for a lot of the experts as he continues his excellent performance from last season. He’s earned a promotion to AAA recently, and the poor performance overall by the Mariners makes me wonder if he may see a September call-up. The strikeout numbers have been dominant, with over 1 per inning so far at both levels. This one is really making me look pretty good so far in my keeper league.

Tomorrow, the rest of the prospects down at AA and below.

How Are They Doing So Far? Part 2


Today, I’ll continue looking at the prospects I reviewed during the offseason, and how they are progressing to this point. All statistics are through Monday’s games.

AA

Mike Stanton (FLA): 28 games, .340/.481/.854, 15 HR, 33 RBI, 28 R, 1 SB, 28 walks, 32 strikeouts

Stanton has torn up AA, and is currently leading the minor leagues in homeruns. There has been talk that with some of the outfielders in the Majors struggling, that Stanton will be called up as soon as the Super-2 date passes. Clearly, he has nothing else to prove at AA even at this point. I wrote in January that I thought he wouldn’t be up until mid-2011, but with ownership expecting this team to compete, Stanton is probably going to be up very soon. And he’ll be some fun to see when that happens.

Michael Pineda (SEA): 6 starts, 32 1/3 IP, 2-0, 2.23 ERA, 1.175 WHIP, 40 strikeouts, 9 walks

I reviewed Pineda mostly because I thought that he was interesting, as he put up very good statistics for a pitcher in the extremely hitter-friendly California League. Now in the Southern League, those numbers appear to not be a fluke. I wrote that I thought he would be up late in 2011 or to start 2012 most likely, and I think that’s probably still right. The Mariners have a lot of reasonably good pitching between Pineda and the Majors, and they can wait to allow him to develop. Remember he’s only 21 years old this season.

Christian Friedrich (COL): 3 starts, 16 IP, 0-1, 2.81 ERA, 1.188 WHIP, 16 strikeouts, 4 walks

Friedrich picked up right where he left off at the end of last season, and is striking out a batter per inning with excellent control. Of concern is the fact that he has missed time this season, having a stint on the 7-day DL with left elbow soreness. Since he throws left handed, this could be of real concern long-term. His last start was on April 19th, almost a month ago now.

Martin Perez (TEX): 6 starts, 25 2/3 IP, 1-0, 2.45 ERA, 1.442 WHIP, 29 strikeouts, 15 walks

The strikeouts remain excellent, but the spike in walks is a bit worrisome to me. I think he should be able to improve on that and return to the form he has shown at previous stops. The Rangers appear committed to him being a part of their starting rotation long term, which bodes well for them. I thought back in January he wouldn’t be up until late 2011 at the soonest, and I think that’s probably still his timetable.

Domonic Brown (PHI): 25 games, .333/.388/.632, 5 HR, 19 RBI, 17 R, 3 SB, 9 walks, 20 strikeouts

Widely assumed to be the replacement should Jayson Werth leave via free agency after this season, Brown has hit very well so far at AA. He spent part of last season at AA, so I could see him getting a promotion to AAA by around the All-Star break. A very solid prospect, and most of his numbers are within range of his career norms to this point.

Kyle Drabek (TOR): 7 starts, 40 IP, 4-3, 3.60 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 41 strikeouts, 21 walks

Drabek has pitched fairly well to this point, but the walks are a concern. He had previously been posting strikeout-to-walk rates of around 3, but is just under 2 so far this season. The Blue Jays will give him lots of time to develop, as they have an excessive amount of pitching at the Major League level, to the point of having starters who can’t seem to break into the rotation. I think he will probably more likely be up with the team in 2012 than 2011 at this point.

Brett Lawrie (MIL): 31 games, .256/.329/.416, 1 HR, 14 RBI, 19 R, 6 SB, 13 walks, 42 strikeouts

I have been a bit surprised by the performance of Lawrie. The speed appears to be legitimate, and I think that he could end up being a 20-20 2B in the Majors someday. The plate discipline remains a bit of a challenge, but if he can improve that somewhat I could see him getting a late-season promotion to AAA. Realistically, they should leave him in AA until he shows some of that in my opinion.

Chris Withrow (LAD): 6 starts, 27 2/3 IP, 1-2, 7.48 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 24 strikeouts, 15 walks

Withrow has not been particularly good to this point, and the control really seems to be showing as a huge problem. He’s never been a particularly accurate pitcher, generally posting strikeout-to-walk rates of around 2. He’s going to need to improve on that before being considered for a promotion. I would have to think that he is going to spend the entire 2010 season at AA, and if doesn’t show improvement in his control could possibly start 2011 there as well.

Casey Kelly (BOS): 6 starts, 20 2/3 IP, 0-2, 3.48 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 21 strikeouts, 7 walks

Kelly seems to be taking to the change to pitching only, striking out a batter per inning. I think that the Red Sox leave him down at AA all season, letting him further refine his excellent skill set. I wrote that I thought he wouldn’t be up until 2012 midseason, and unless there becomes a need in the rotation, I think that will remain true. They have all 5 starters under team control until at least then: Lackey (2014), Beckett (2014), Matsuzaka (2012), Lester(2013), and Buchholz (2014) all under contract or control until then.

Yonder Alonso (CIN): 29 games, .271/.397/.417, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 19 R, 4 SB, 19 walks, 16 strikeouts

Alonso has been splitting his time between 1B and LF for the Reds AA team, and I have to imagine that at a certain point he’ll stop playing 1B entirely. The Reds have Joey Votto holding down that position in the Majors, and unlikely to be going anywhere anytime soon. He’s hit well to this point, and I think he may end up getting promoted to AAA at some point during the season. The Reds have shown that they are not averse to promoting someone to the Majors if they think they are ready to contribute (Mike Leake), so when Alonso is ready, the Reds will move him up.

Prospect Review – Yonder Alonso – 1B – CIN


Baseball Reference.Com Profile
Fangraphs Profile

The Basics
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
How Acquired: Drafted in the 1st round (#7 overall) of the 2008 Amateur Draft by the Reds
Age: 23

Statistics

2009 – Sarasota (Florida State League – Reds High-A) – 49 games

  • .303/.383/.497
  • 7 HR, 38 RBI, 0 stolen bases
  • 24 walks, 30 strikeouts
  • .333 BABIP

2009 – Carolina (Southern League – Reds AA) – 29 games

  • .292/.372/.457
  • 2 HR, 14 RBI, 1 stolen base
  • 14 walks, 15 strikeouts

Rankings
Baseball America – #2 (CIN – 2010)
Baseball Prospectus – #4 (CIN – 2010) – 3 star
John Sickels – #3 (CIN – 2010) – B+

Analysis

Alonso was drafted out of the University of Miami in the 2008 draft, but only saw action in 6 games after signing with the Reds. 2009 was essentially his pro debut, and started his season at High-A Sarasota. He showed excellent plate discipline (24 walks to 30 strikeouts), along with some solid power (7 HR, 13 doubles) before being promoted to AA Carolina. Alonso was there for about 3 weeks before suffering a hamate bone injury which cost him almost 2 months of development time. August was a poor month for Alonso (.214/.358/.238), but he rebounded in September in split duty between AA Carolina and a brief call-up to AAA Louisville (.381/.447/.667).

I really like Alonso’s plate discipline (43 walks vs. 49 strikeouts overall), and think that the Reds could be trying to fast-track him towards the Majors. Alonso should develop power, and I could see him being a 20+ homer hitter in the Majors with a solid batting average.

The biggest concern I am seeing for Alonso right now is that he’s blocked at the Major League level, with 1B being played by Joey Votto. I get the impression that his fielding would limit him to either 1B or a corner outfield spot. He doesn’t really appear to have a lot of speed (1 SB, 0 triples), so I could see him potentially being a hindrance in the outfield as well. But thankfully, it’s  something the Reds do not have to decide on right now.

Outlook

Alonso looks like he’s going to develop into a pretty good hitter, both for average and for power. He’s probably 2 full seasons away from the Majors, especially if they cannot figure out a position to have him play effectively at the Major league level. However, they should be able to figure something out when his bat is ready.

Prediction for 2010

.295/.385/.490, 19 HR, 75 RBI (AA/AAA)

Expected ETA

Either late 2011 or early on in the 2012 season.

Tomorrow’s Prospect for Review (Last in the Series!): P Jacob Turner of the Detroit Tigers