Throughout July, it became increasingly clear that impending free-agent hitters could be found in the discount bin. The Diamondbacks acquired outfielder J.D. Martinez, a hitter with four consecutive seasons of slugging over .500, for the modest cost of a trio of non-Top 100 Prospects.
The cost of middle-of-the-order bats hasn’t gone up now the calendar has flipped to August. On Sunday the Mariners acquired Oakland first baseman Yonder Alonso, the A’s best hitter, for the modest cost of well-traveled Triple-A outfielder Boog Powell. Oakland originally drafted Powell in 2012 in the 20th round.
Yonder Alonso, 1b
Alonso has been a poster child for the launch angle revolution. The seventh overall pick in the 2008 draft, Alonso came into the season having never reached double digits in home runs or even .400 in slugging percentage in a full major league season.
But after reworking his swing to hit the ball in the air more often, Alonso has blown away his career highs in home runs and now fits as a middle of the order bat. He fills a significant need for the Mariners, as Danny Valencia and Dan Vogelbach have failed to live up to the Mariners’ expectations. Alonso is a free agent at the end of the season.
Boog Powell, of
Powell is in the middle of his best pro season in his third season in Triple-A, although his success at Triple-A did not carry over in his first promotion to the big leagues, where he drew walks but otherwise struggled offensively. Powell’s best assets are his speed and defense. Most scouts see him as a future fourth outfielder who has enough defensive ability in center field to contribute to a big league roster. He has solid contact skills, albeit with little power. He has enough feel for the strike zone to produce solid on-base percentages. His above-average speed plays much better in the field than on the basepaths, as he’s never figured out how to be a successful basestealer. Powell has been suspended twice by MLB. The first time was a 50-game suspension after testing positive for an amphetamine. He was suspended for 80 games last year because he tested positive for an anabolic steroid.