Apr 7, 2010, 12:45 PM EDT
Yonder Alonso has played exclusively first base in the minors since being the seventh overall pick in the 2008 draft, but with Joey Votto blocking his path to Cincinnati for the next decade or so the Reds have decided to shift him to the outfield.
MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports that Alonso will begin this season playing left field at Double-A, where he finished last season by hitting .295/.372/.457 with 13 extra-base hits and a 15/14 K/BB ratio in 29 games as a first baseman.
Alonso certainly could make a relatively smooth transition to left field at age 23, but it sure seems unlikely. He’s played every inning of his pro career at first base and in ranking him as the Reds’ second-best prospect Baseball America noted that “his well-below-average speed limits him to first base.”
More likely is that the Reds give him some time in left field at Double-A, determine that they probably wouldn’t want to actually stick him out there in Cincinnati, and eventually pursue a trade. Because whether he ends up being flat-out awful or merely just sub par in left field, Alonso would have more value to a team that could install him at first base long term.
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