From a press release by the Carolina Mudcats:

Alonso, the seventh overall pick of the 2008 draft, displayed why he was ranked as the top prospect in the Reds organization before the 2009 season by leading the league in most offensive categories. The 22-year-old first baseman recorded four multi-hit games and twice had three hits. He powered Carolina to a 6-4 win over Montgomery on September 1, batting 3-for-5 with two doubles and three RBI. His solo blast on September 4 helped the Mudcats edge Mississippi 8-7. The Miami, Fla. native led the league with a .458 average, 11 hits, four doubles, a .536 on-base percentage, five extra-base hits and six runs. He also ranked second with a .750 slugging percentage.

This is a good sign for the Reds. I still expect him to start next season at AA, but others probably expect him to start higher. If everything goes right, maybe he’ll be ready sometime next season?

UPDATE: A press release from the Louisville Bats says that Alonso is joining the Bats tonight for their first round playoff game against the Durham Bulls.

39 Responses

  1. Nathan in Muncie

    Pure stud. I expect to see him by all-star break next year to help support another faltering reds offense.

  2. Bill Lack

    Nathan…he had a good career at Miami, but what has he done this year to make you believe he’s a “pure stud” and that he’ll move this quickly?

  3. Matt WI

    Uh, he’s the SL Hitter of the Week. What other credentials are you looking for? 😉

  4. RiverCity Redleg

    I’d like him to try out 3B of LF to see how he’d do defensively.

  5. RiverCity Redleg

    Let Rick Sweet have him for an entire year next year and he will be a stud.

  6. Wire to Wire

    Votto has to stay where he is. I would agree to keep him at third for the often injured Rolen.

  7. Sultan of Swaff

    It’s going to be interesting to see what happens around the middle of next year. If Alonso and Francisco keep progressing at the pace they’ve shown so far, we’ll have 3 guys (Votto, YA, JF) for 2 positions–LF and 1B. This assumes Rolen will stay put and Frazier, not Francisco and his 30+errors, will be the heir apparent.
    To this end, it’s really imperative to find out if Votto and Francisco can play LF. I don’t think anyone will miss Votto’s glove at 1B—he isn’t getting better.
    All in all, these are nice problems to have. It keeps the pressure on guys like Bruce and Gomes to produce and likely fills our 2nd biggest hole after SS, left field.

  8. Steve Price

    It’s my understanding Yonder is a first baseman and that’s pretty much his defensive skillset.

    Votto’s one alarming note for me has been his defense. He likes to play ground balls to the side, he didn’t know the proper underhand flip to first on grounders (better now), and still sidesteps some scoop throws at first (see play ground balls to the side). May be outfield is his best option?

    Baseball Prospecuts also mentioned Alonso today, and much called his season “middling at best.” He hit only 9 home runs in 291 plate appearances, but did go 11-21 in his last six games.

  9. Sultan of Swaff

    Sorry, I got caught thinking progressively again *slaps forehead*.
    Let’s just cross that bridge when we get to it, like we did w/ center field and SS.

  10. Sultan of Swaff

    And if you average Alonso’s numbers, he’d be on pace for ~50 doubles, 100 rbi’s, and a 1/1 K/BB ratio. I’ll take a whole team of guys like that.
    Frazier is very similar in those respects.

  11. Dan

    Alonso is batting, overall, .292/.374/.464 between A and AA ball.

    He’s hitting lefties (at AA only – that’s all milb.com shows)to the tune of .242/.333/.303.

    I also have read that he’s limited to 1B.

    I hope I’m wrong, but there’s nothing here that says “pure stud” to me.

  12. David

    There is absolutely no reason to start Alonso at 1B in AA next season. If you want to get a look at Alonso at 3B, then do it in AA. I’d agree there. But if you are keeping Alonso at 1B, there is simply no logical reason to keep him stuck behind 34 year old Barker.

    It is a log jam at 1B and 3B. Votto, Stubbs, Bruce is a nice outfield, absolutely. Offensively, Votto is better suited in a corner outfield position, but there is no assurance that you can move Votto to LF. Personally, I see Francisco being the odd man out. He still Ks far too frequently and of all the guys mentioned, really needs to work on that aspect of his game if he intends to be an impact bat. I have really enjoyed seeing Rolen on this team. The improvement defensively has been significant. Given that Francisco is bad defensively, I’m not looking forward to the kid at the hot corner. Can Rolen last until Soto is ready?

  13. Drew Nelson

    We lived with Adam Dunn in LF for how long? I would find it hard to believe that either Votto or Alonzo could do any worse?

  14. Bill Lack

    I’d leave him at AA for a couple of reasons…1) he hasn’t enjoyed huge success there. I think everyone (including me) expected it. He’s been very successful the last two weeks (.350/.449/.550); but overall? Not as much as I’d like. and 2) The folks that I talked to in Sarasota said that his defense was terrible there. Start him in AA, if he has a great April, move him to Louisville. I don’t think he’ll be stuck behind Barker, I think you might see Dorn playing 1B at Louisville. But there are a lot of questions about the 40 man roster for next year.

    I’ll go on the record here as predicting that Francisco will be traded this off season….

  15. GRF

    I am happy he is closing the season on a strong note, and he may be ready for AAA next year at some point, but projecting him to the majors next season is just that, a real projection.

  16. GRF

    @Bill Lack: Bill, that makes a lot of sense.

    Which almost guarantees it will not happen.

  17. wanderinredsfan

    Of all players with at least 100 ABs, Alonso led Sarasota for AB/XBH (8.8), AB/HR (25), and BB/K (0.8). At Carolina, Alonso wasn’t too far behind Frazier and Heisey in these respective stats, clearly the best hitter behind those two in Carolina. To only look at totals and the remedial averages doesn’t tell the whole story to how good Alonso’s bat actually is. The only players that can boast better performances, per AB, are Frazier and Heisey; that’s pretty good company.

    Regarding Francisco’s defense, I have to ask: Does anyone watch him play regularly? I have been watching him regularly since he got to Louisville, and I have been very impressed. He has good range and a pure cannon of an arm. He makes some amazing plays. Of course, he does have some EE in him, as he seems to have ‘lapses’ at times on the easier plays. I think these are decision-based errors a lot of times, not as much the arm as with EE. I am not willing to give up on him at third, especially since third and first are the only positions he is likely to play going forward.

  18. Dan

    When you spend a 1st round pick (7th overall, I think) on someone who is a first baseman only, he should not be the 3rd best hitter on his AA team behind a 2B and a CF. He should be THE MAN at the plate.

    If he had the exact same stats but played middle SS, C, or CF, I’d be totally behind him.

    But he’s a 1B — probably the easiest position to fill. And a 1B with a big platoon split at that.

    I dunno… I hope I’m wrong (would love for him to turn out to be like the next Jim Thome), but I’m not seeing it at this point. Even the stats you pointed out, wander, aren’t impressing me all that much.

  19. wanderinredsfan

    Dan, I think you over-value first round draft picks. If Alonso makes it to the bigs and becomes just an average player (e.g., Hal Morris or Sean Casey), then the Reds will consider his drafting an overwhelming success. If he develops to be a titan at first, then the Reds will have struck gold.

    I don’t think Alonso has done anything to disappoint yet, other than breaking his wrist earlier this season (don’t you think this might of had an effect on his power this season?). In fact, Alonso has proven success at A and AA, and he is now at AAA in just about a year’s time since signing. That’s pretty special, and I think his upside is just as promising as it was when we drafted him.

    Now, if you have a problem with last year’s draft pick, we’ll that’s a different conversation that expired nearly a year ago. Still, you have to admit that Alonso is quite developed at the plate compared to his peers. If that doesn’t impress you, then I’m afraid your expectations for first-round draft success will continue to frustrate.

  20. Eddie

    So let’s say we leave him in the minors and he hits good etc and is ready to come up middle of the season, what do you do then? Are you going to move Votto to LF in the middle of the season?
    A decision needs to be made in the off-season about what to do with Alonso & Votto. Either have Alonso at 1st and Votto in LF or keep Votto at 1st and Alonso in AA/AAA all season. This needs to be made in the off-season so Votto knows its coming and can work on his outfield skills.

  21. Tom Diesman

    I’m thinking along the same lines. Tell Votto to come back in the spring with his LF mitt and tell Phillips to come back in the spring ready to play SS. Find a short term solution at 1B over the winter until Alonso is ready and deal Francisco over the winter for a long term solution at catcher. That’d probably make too much sense though, so don’t count on it.

  22. mike

    I like the idea Tom but why not try Phillips and Votto in those new positions now?

  23. RC

    Adam Dunn, to me, even when he played in Dayton, was just screaming “first baseman”. Apparently the organization didn’t see it my way.

    Votto has worked very hard to get to the point where he’s somewhat adequate at the position, but it sure doesn’t seem to come to him naturally. And Votto’s got to be athletic enough to play a corner outfield spot without the bumbling oafery we’ve seen from others. SO what’s the deal? Votto got a noodly arm or something?

    I guess I’m still inspired by that excerpt from the Big Red Machine where Sparky moved Rose to 3B. C’mon, let’s do something rash…

  24. wanderinredsfan

    Tom: Why isn’t Hanigan a long-term solution at catcher? Guy has arguably the best defense in the league and gets on base better than most. Sure he doesn’t have the power, but he is surely the best option now and into the near future. Longer-term solutions at catcher are very few and far between. I, for one, am very content with Hanigan and a back-up going into next season.

  25. Chris

    Steve Price: Baseball Prospecuts also mentioned Alonso today, and much called his season “middling at best.” He hit only 9 home runs in 291 plate appearances, but did go 11-21 in his last six games.

    Goldstein’s analysis on Alonso has been pretty weak, IMO. “Pressured by the success of Gordon Beckham, who was drafted after him…” That’s just inane.

    I’m not calling him a sure thing, but it’s really too soon to be drawing any sort of conclusion, other than “he finished strong.” Alonso’s headed to the AFL, so we’ll continue to learn.

  26. Tom Diesman

    I like Hanigan, I just don’t envision a 29 year old with a below league average OPS for his postion as the long term answer there. I really like his OBP and his defense. But when the MLB average at catcher is hitting .253 .319 .396 .715 and your catcher is putting up a .272 .362 .330 .692 you’ve got to look at it as an area where you can still improve.

  27. Chris

    Agree. Hanigan’s a fallback or backup, but a .330 SLG is NOT acceptable, even if you’re Willy Taveras.

  28. wanderinredsfan

    Hanigan hits fewer long-balls, but gets more hits and is on base more than the average catcher….plus, he’s a stud defensively. I’ll take that from a Cincy catcher and smile doing it. Not saying it’s not something to improve upon and continue to develop catchers to provide more offensively, but catcher is not the most pressing issue on this team. At least not if Hanigan can remain healthy for around 130-games a season.

  29. al

    i have to go with wander on this one. most staticticians will tell you that you should really double weight obp rather than just adding obp+slg, to get a measure of overall offense.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/25/sports/baseball/25score.html

    catcher is a defensive position, and hannigan is one of the best. with better weighted stats he’s above average offensively as well.

    he’s not young, but he’s not old either, and he’s cheap. seems like an area that you don’t need to improve to me.

  30. al

    on yonder, i’m with the crowd that is pretty happy so far. i read right after he got injured that that injury usually saps power for a few months, but then it all comes back usually.

    low hr numbers in the fsl and after that injury don’t scare me. he’s producing well and progressing fast.

    i don’t think you need to start moving guys around just yet though. he’s not going to be ready for the bigs out of spring training, so joey votto is going to be the opening day 1b.

    if he lights up aaa for half a year, then you can start thinking about where to put him on the big club.

  31. Chris

    @al:

    al: i have to go with wander on this one. most staticticians will tell you that you should really double weight obp rather than just adding obp+slg, to get a measure of overall offense.

    Fair point. In RC/27 outs, he ranks 7 of 18 NL catchers (>225 PA). In EQA, it’s 9/18. So slightly above average offensively, above average defensively. I’m worried about the lack of power, and whether he could do it over a full season, but he’s an acceptable stopgap for sure.

  32. Dan

    wanderinredsfan: Dan, I think you over-value first round draft picks.If Alonso makes it to the bigs and becomes just an average player (e.g., Hal Morris or Sean Casey), then the Reds will consider his drafting an overwhelming success.

    Fair point, wander, but I still am going to downgrade how I feel about the pick b/c from day 1 Alonso has been and will only ever be a first baseman. That’s a pretty serious restriction.

    Decent first basemen are just not that hard to find. We waited til mid-February 2006 before we signed Scott Hatteberg, reasonably cheaply, and he gave us 2 very good years. This year, Russell Branyan got let go Milwaukee and he signed with Seattle for $1.5 million, and he’s got 31 HR and a slugging % over .500.

    If you’re picking a 1B-only with the 7th overall pick, you’d better be right. Good-hitting 1B’s just are not scarce. (GREAT-hitting 1B’s are, but good-hitting ones are not.)

  33. Bill Lack

    wanderinredsfan: Regarding Francisco’s defense, I have to ask:Does anyone watch him play regularly?I have been watching him regularly since he got to Louisville, and I have been very impressed.He has good range and a pure cannon of an arm.He makes some amazing plays.Of course, he does have some EE in him, as he seems to have ‘lapses’ at times on the easier plays.I think these are decision-based errors a lot of times, not as much the arm as with EE.I am not willing to give up on him at third, especially since third and first are the only positions he is likely to play going forward.

    I saw him at Dayton and he was horrendous. And every report I’ve seen since then has said he hasn’t gotten any better…he had 35 errors in 109 games at Carolina this season. He is reported to have a strong arm, but I’ve seen nothing to indicate good range. There was talk of him in the OF at one point…but until he learns some selectivity at the plate, it’s not going to matter.

  34. Bill Lack

    Tom Diesman: I like Hanigan, I just don’t envision a 29 year old with a below league average OPS for his postion as the long term answer there.I really like his OBP and his defense.But when the MLB average at catcher is hitting .253 .319 .396 .715 and your catcher is putting up a .272 .362 .330 .692 you’ve got to look at it as an area where you can still improve.

    Tom, does this mean that you don’t think Hanigan will improve offensively? I think he’s had a pretty darn good season..sure I’d like to see his slugging up some, but a catcher with a .362 OBP and great defense that strikes fear in the hearts of base stealers is a plus in my book.

  35. Tom Diesman

    Given his minor league numbers, I’d say he may have a little room to grow. You might expect a few years of .720+ OPS from him, which is great for a catcher, especially with his OBP.

    Hanigan AB OBP SLG AVG OPS
    NL 319 .363 .342 .273 .705
    AAA 415 .376 .378 .296 .754
    AA 656 .405 .384 .300 .789
    A 751 .366 .357 .288 .723

    But then what, he turns 30 next August and catchers get nicked up and decline even earlier that most players. The point is, the Reds need to get something else in place now who they can start getting into the ML mix soon with Hanigan who has the potential to take over for him fulltime in a year or two. I don’t see that guy in the minors right now.

    Love Hanigan, but the Reds can’t afford to stand pat at the catching position.

  36. Dan

    At catcher, since it’s so demanding physically, I prefer to have 2 catchers on the roster who you plan to both have get 300-400 AB’s. I think any catcher you expose to 500+ AB’s is going to suffer for it.

    I wouldn’t mind having, say, Hanigan and Zaun both on the roster, with Hanigan getting 400 AB’s and Zaun getting 300 or so.

    Heck, I wouldn’t mind having Hanigan and Hernandez, as long as Hernandez is making a reasonable amount of $$ and as long as they’re splitting the playing time closer to 50/50.

    I’d really like to take a chance (if possible) on someone who might actually be a good hitter at catcher — a Jake Fox type? (Is he just brutal defensively at catcher?) If you can get an actual GOOD hitter at catcher, you’re ahead of a lot of teams.

  37. Bill Lack

    Tom, but don’t you think it’s possible (even likely) for him to improve on his NL numbers, just by having a full season under his belt?

    I agree with Dan, I wouldn’t even mind Hernandez (at a reasonable salary), but Tatum / Miller is not the answer.

    Mesoraco hasn’t blossomed and is still at A ball, but is only 21. The Reds used a #4 pick on Mark Fleury, he’s 21 also, and struggled in Rookie Ball. (Though I’ve been told by a number of players that rookie ball is something just to “get through”.)

    But there is no sure-fire answer for the future in the system, that’s for certain.

  38. Tom Diesman

    Yeah, I stated above that he could improve slightly over his current numbers, but I think it’s a less likely event now at age 29, than it would have been for him if he was more like 25. I can see it happening, but I’m not as sure about it given his age.

    I agree with you and Dan that we need to find him someone to share time with the next few years. I want them to find a catcher who is on the cusp of breaking into the bigs and can play part time for a few years and take over for him full time eventually. That is why I suggested trading Francisco off for a catcher, that I think we need now. No knock on Hanigan. I don’t want them overpaying for someone like Hernandez when you can find that kind of performance from the minors, ie Hanigan, on the cheap.