Is it time to be completely impolite and call the Reds' 2008 first-round draft pick Yonder Alonso the "B" word?
No, not biatch. The other "B" word: Bust.
Oh, you think it's too early to label him as such? I can understand that point of view. But it's certainly not too early to wonder if Yonder (that almost rhymes) is ever going to make it as a starter in the Major Leagues.
Most of the players from his draft class that played college ball are already in the Big Leagues doing big things. I'm referring to guys like Pedro Alvarez (No. 2 overall to Pittsburgh), Brian Matusz (No. 4 to Baltimore), Buster Posey (No. 5 to San Francisco), Gordon Beckham (No. 8 to the Chicago White Sox - one pick after the Reds took Alonso at No. 7), Justin Smoak (No. 11 to Texas) and Ike Davis (No. 18 to the New York Mets).
Meanwhile, Alonso is scuffling at Triple-A Louisville, where he is batting just .245 with two home runs and 18 RBIs (he's had 139 at-bats and has an OPS of .651). Things weren't much better at Double-A Carolina earlier this season before his call-up to Louisville. With Carolina, Alonso batted .267 with three homers and 13 RBIs (101 at-bats, .794 OPS).
So, overall this season in 240 minor-league at-bats, Alonso is batting .254 with five home runs and 31 RBIs with an OPS of .713. Look at those numbers again. Not exactly what you want out of the seventh pick of the draft two years after said draft when the player came out of the college ranks. And when you look around at some of the guys the Reds could have drafted instead, it makes it that much worse.
Beckham is struggling this year, but at least he's good enough to start in the Big Leagues. And he was very solid as a rookie last year. The problem with him is the Reds weren't convinced he could play shortstop - an opinion that is being backed up by the fact that the White Sox have only used him at second base and third base thus far in his career - but where can Alonso play? He certainly can't play first base for the Reds, not with Joey Votto around.
And Alonso's not hitting well enough to even make it a discussion. Once he proves he can hit minor league pitching, then the Reds can worry about where he's going to play. If he keeps up his current pace, he won't play for the Reds at all.
Also, if the Reds wanted a slugging first baseman in the '08 draft, I'm still surprised they didn't go with Smoak who was ranked higher than Alonso by everyone. Oh well, Chris Buckley more than made up for it by landing Mike Leake in the 2009 draft, but the Alonso pick is not looking good. Not even close.
Hopefully the University of Miami product gets things turned around. But it's definitely looking bleak at this point. He can barely hit minor league pitching and he's a full year removed from his hand injury that wiped out half of his 2009 season. Can't use that as an excuse any longer; the guy is just not as good as the Reds' brass had hoped. At least so far.