Alonso Playing The Field For Reds
CINCINNATI—The Reds are pleased with how Yonder Alonso's move to left field has gone so far, but it sounds like it will not a be a quick process.
"Learning the complexity of the position unfortunately only comes with repetitions," said Bill Bavasi, the club's vice president of scouting, player development and international operations.
Alonso, the club's first-round pick in the 2008 draft (seventh overall), is blocked at first base for the foreseeable future by reigning National League MVP Joey Votto. The future at left field is much less settled. Jonny Gomes is in the final year of his two-year deal. Chris Heisey will be in the mix for the starting job should Gomes not be signed. The same is true of Dave Sappelt. But if nothing else, adding a place Alonso can play besides first enhances his value. Alonso's foot speed—which is well below major league average—limits him at the position.
"He's doing well," Bavasi said. "It's not an easy thing to do. We're satisfied with his progress so far."
Alonso spent the offseason working in the outfield in his adopted town of Miami. One of his workout partners was Melky Cabrera. Being around a major league outfielder helped a great deal.
Alonso's bat is, of course, his calling card, though he was hitting .278/.322/.389 after 54 at-bats. He didn't get his first extra-base hit until April 18.
• Billy Hamilton had 14 stolen bases in first 16 games with low Class A Dayton. But Hamilton, who is playing exclusively at shortstop, also had five errors. "I think that happens with a lot of young players," Bavasi said. "The other thing with him is he's going to have more errors because he gets to balls than no one else touches. Because he touches it, some minor league scorer gives him an error."
• In his first three Triple-A starts, Dontrelle Willis had an ERA of 0.53 with 15 strikeouts and five walks in 17 innings. He nearly made the big league team as reliever.