Baseball fans have been hearing the name Yonder Alonso for quite some time now. Since being drafted by the Cincinnati Reds seventh overall in the 2008 MLB Draft, the former Miami Hurricane has had his share of ups-and-downs.
Alonso, though mediocre defensively, was always projected to be a great hitter. He was ranked on Baseball America’s list of the Top 100 Prospects each year from 2009-2012, cracking the Top 50 in all but 2011. With Joey Votto locked into the Reds’ future at first base, Alonso became a man without a position. After playing only first base in 2010 following his call-up on September 1, his 2011 campaign was a different story. Alonso played the majority of his games in left field, and even saw minimal action at third base.
In dire need of starting pitching, the Reds pulled off one of the biggest trades of the 2011-12 offseason. They traded Alonso, Edinson Volquez, Yasmani Grandal, and Brad Boxberger to the San Diego Padres for 24 year-old righty Mat Latos. In turn, with the addition of Alonso at first base, the Padres traded their top first base prospect, Anthony Rizzo, to the Cubs for pitcher Andrew Cashner.
Once in San Diego, Alonso became the club’s everyday first baseman, starting 155 games for the Padres in 2012. After playing in only 97 games last season and already 27 years old, Alonso needed to put on a good performance in 2014. So far, Alonso has been a major disappointment on a fourth-place Padres team. Going into last night’s game, Alonso was hitting a measly .190 with just one home run and 11 RBIs.
In last night’s game, however, Alonso looked every bit as good as the top prospect he once was. Alonso had another multi-hit game yesterday, his sixth in May. Alonso alleviated his power struggle in the very first inning, crushing a two-run homer to right center field off of Cubs starter Edwin Jackson. Alonso singled in the Padres’ three-run seventh inning, which pushed the lead to 11-1, the final score of the game.
Yonder Alonso knows how to hit the ball. He has done it effectively at every level of professional baseball. After a miserable April, Alonso’s season has begun to look up. He’s hitting .242 in May, and has hit both of his home runs in the month. If the Padres hope to have their first winning season since 2010, it’s imperative that Yonder Alonso, along with 2011-12 trade companions Yasmani Grandal and Andrew Cashner, lead the team to victory.