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OnBaseMachine
09-19-2008, 10:15 PM
Alonso gazes into future in Cincinnati
Top pick visits Great American Ball Park before Friday's game
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- Yonder Alonso took his first gazes at Great American Ball Park on Friday, and it didn't take long for the Reds' first-round Draft pick to get the itch.

"I could picture myself here right now playing against Milwaukee, if that tells you anything," Alonso said. "I'm very wowed by this."

Other than a possible batting practice session Saturday, Alonso was just visiting his future home field. There will be a lot of baseball to play this fall.

The 22-year-old first baseman is scheduled to spend 11 days at the organization's instructional league in Sarasota, Fla., and plans to play in the Hawaiian fall league and possibly winter ball in the Dominican Republic.

Drafted seventh overall out of the University of Miami in June, prolonged contract negotiations kept Alonso largely idle until he signed a five-year, $4.55 million contract 15 minutes before an Aug. 15 deadline.

There was just enough season left for Alonso to play six games at Class A Sarasota. He batted .316 (6-for-19) with one double and two RBIs.

"It was great," said Alonso, who was accompanied by his parents and sister. "It was a little bit nerve racking. Probably the first two or three games, I felt like I wasn't myself, but baseball is baseball. I loved it. I was very comfortable. I love this organization and I'm very happy."

There was some rust from the prolonged inactivity, but not enough to derail his confidence.

"It showed the first two games, but I prepared myself so well that I felt like it didn't hurt me that much," Alonso said. "I felt great. The guys helped me out a lot."

Alonso said he played both first base and third base at Sarasota, and he can also play the outfield. The Reds currently have a young first baseman in Joey Votto. Alonso was open to switching, if asked.

"Whatever they want me to do, I'll do," said Alonso, who batted .370 with 24 home runs and 72 RBIs during his junior season at Miami.

Exactly when Alonso will make his big league debut remains unknown, but he is already on the Reds' 40-man roster because he signed a Major League contract. That means he'll also be in big league camp at Spring Training next year.

Getting that kind of deal puts the crosshairs on Alonso before he even plays one Major League game. The expectations will be high, and he won't have to earn his financial security like other prospects. He believed the money wouldn't change his approach to the game.

"I'm the same person I was without anything," Alonso said. "Somebody asked me that the other day, 'How did I feel?' I told them, 'How much money do you have in your wallet right now? It feels the exact same way.' I don't feel any pressure. If anything, I just want to go out there and play the game. I'm a baseball player, not a businessman. I just play baseball, and this is what I do."

http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080919&content_id=3509557&vkey=news_cin&fext=.jsp&c_id=cin

AmarilloRed
09-19-2008, 10:39 PM
We might see Alonso move to left if he does well out of spring training. He sounds open to the move.

OnBaseMachine
09-19-2008, 10:40 PM
Yonder speaks
Posted by JohnFay at 9/19/2008 5:54 PM EDT on Cincinnati.com

Yonder Alonso is one confident young man.

I could picture myself being here and playing against Milwaukee if that tells you anything, he said. Im very wowed by this. I could put on the uniform and play tonight.

Alonso chatted up Ryan Braun before the game. Braun, like Alonso, came out of the University of Miami after his junior year. Look at how their numbers compared at junior at UM:

Alonso: .370, 24 home runs, 72 RBI, .777 slugging percentage

Braun: .396, 18 home runs, 76, .726 slugging percentage .

The Reds top draft pick in town for visit. He'll take some batting practice tomorrow. He's slated for 11 days at Instructional League. He'll then play in the Hawaiian Fall League.

"After Hawaii, I'm thinking about going to the Dominican to play Winter Ball," he said.

Obviously, he likes to play. He held out until 15 minutes before the signing deadline. What pushed him to sign? My love for the game. I want to be here in the major leagues. My goal is to help out anyway I can. If Im in high A or Double whatever the case may be I want to go out and win ball games. Thats always been my goal. When you love game so much, you want to go out and play at the highest level. That was my priority.

Im the same person I was, he said. Im baseball player and not a businessman.

Here's what he had to say:

On the adjustment to pro ball: The first two or three games I didnt feel like myself. But baseball is baseball. I loved it. I love this organization. Im very, very happy.

Rust? It showed the first couple of games. But I prepared myself so well that it didnt hurt me that much. The guys treated me great. It was great to play.

On the switch from a metal bat to a wood bat: I worked a lot. I maintained my body. I practiced very, very hard. I had a routine going.

He hasnt changed his approach: I feel like baseball is baseball. Youve got hit that round ball. Theyre trying to get you out. Youve got to stay within yourself and do your thing stay confident.

On next year: They have said yet. Im going to Instructional League for 10 days, then Im off Hawaii. After Hawaii, Im thinking about going to the Dominican and playing there.

On Great American Ball Park: Beautiful. Its huge. Its definitely not U of M.

http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?category=blog07&plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3ae57bcc87-152a-4f72-96fb-cc08b1f396efPost%3a5b07bb45-4666-4f83-ac3f-d633c3e5854f&sid=sitelife.cincinnati.com

mth123
09-19-2008, 11:26 PM
We might see Alonso move to left if he does well out of spring training. He sounds open to the move.

I never considered Alonso for the OF. I do think that the winter ball plan is the Reds way of getting his Minor league time in now with the idea that he'll have a legit chance to open 2009 in Cincy. Its possible that he could play a lot of LF this winter. I only saw a little of Alonso in college, so this could be way off, but he seemed to be a better defender at 1B than Votto is. Similarly, Votto seems to have more mobility and may be a better bet in LF. Stiil, ability to play the OF is largely tied to the ability to read the ball off the bat and break the right way. Either guy would have to be able to do that to be passable in LF since neither has the flat out speed to make up for a bad break on the ball.

kpresidente
09-20-2008, 11:27 AM
Alonso said he played both first base and third base at Sarasota, and he can also play the outfield. The Reds currently have a young first baseman in Joey Votto. Alonso was open to switching, if asked.

"Whatever they want me to do, I'll do," said Alonso, who batted .370 with 24 home runs and 72 RBIs during his junior season at Miami.


CATCHER! Listen up, WJ!

nemesis
09-20-2008, 12:33 PM
After having an outfield of Dickerson, Bruce and Patterson... it would be real hard to watch another clunker in LF again. I really think having those 3 out there plus Castillo as the sub has kept at least 1 run per game off the board.

But with Soto probaly a 3B in waiting ya kinda have to.

I don't want to move Votto off first. I think he's got enough speed to play LF but sometimes position changes can affect a player at the plate.

Heck by 2010 this "could" be the lineup.

1b - Alonso
2b - Frazier
3b - Soto
ss - ?
lf - Votto
cf - Stubbs
rf - Bruce
c - ?

fearofpopvol1
09-20-2008, 01:05 PM
"Whatever they want me to do, I'll do," said Alonso

That's encouraging. I like hearing that.

I don't realistically think Alonso makes the team out of ST. I think he could be up with the club at some point next year, but I think out of ST would be a bit premature (and probably a bad idea).

OnBaseMachine
09-20-2008, 03:47 PM
Alonso makes first visit to GABP

Reds first-round pick Yonder Alonso made his first appearance at Great American Ball Park on Friday and met with the local media for the first time.

By C. Trent Rosecrans
Friday, September 19, 2008
Reds first-round pick Yonder Alonso made his first visit to Great American Ball Park on Friday and said he was looking forward to playing here.

Here is most of his conversation with the assembled media:

Q: How were the first six games of your professional career?
A: It was great. It was a little nerve-wracking, I felt like the first two or three games I wasn't within myself, but then baseball's baseball. I loved it. I was very comfortable, I love this organization and I'm very happy.

Q: You had a long summer not playing, did you feel like you got behind at all?
A: Well, it showed a little bit the first two games. But I prepare myself so well, I felt like it didn't hurt me that much. I felt great. The guys helped me out a lot. That team was just unbelievable to be around those guys. They've already been around for five-and-a-half months, so it's just getting in. It's great, but I don't think it showed at all.

Q: How was the switch from metal bats to wood?
A: Well, I hit a lot. I definitely had to do that. I maintained my body, I just practiced very, very hard. I had a routine going and it paid off.

Q: Does the change in bats change what you are able to do or your approach?
A: No, I feel like baseball's baseball. I've got to hit that round ball and that guy's trying to get you out. You've got to do your thing, stay within yourself and stay confident that you can get it done and everything will work out.

Q: Why did you eventually sign with the Reds after the long negotiation?
A: The love of the game -- my goal is to be here in the major leagues. My goal is to help this team out any way I can, or help any team Im with. If I'm in high-A or AA, whatever the case may be, I just want to go out there and win ballgames. My goal has always been to play professional baseball. When you love the game so much you just want to go out there and play and play at the highest level you can, so that was my main priority.

Q: Do you know where you're going to start next season?
A: No, not yet. Right now I'm just playing baseball every day. I'm going to instructional ball for 11 days and then I'm off to Hawaii (for the Hawaiian League). After Hawaii, I'm thinking about going to the Dominican League and playing there.

Q: What's your impression of Great American Ball Park?
A: It's beautiful. It's huge. It's definitely what you want. I'm awed right now by the opportunity to be here. It's great.

Q: What's it like to be here and can you picture yourself out on that field?
A: I can picture myself right now playing against Milwaukee, if that tells you anything.

Q: You've surely heard how friendly a park this is for hitters, you've got to be excited by that?
A: Yeah. I definitely am. Im very, very wowed by this right now, and like I said I could put on the uniform right now.

Q: Have you been able to take batting practice here yet?
A: No, but I think I am (Saturday), so I'm definitely looking forward to that.

Q: How have you responded to the contract, signing bonus and expectations?
A: I'm the same person I was without anything. It's funny you mention that, becase someone the other day asked me how I felt and I told them, how much money do you have in your wallet? Is that how you feel? I feel the same way. It doesn't change anything. I'm a baseball player, I'm not a business man. I just play baseball, that's what I do.

Q: How helpful was Alex Rodriguez?
A: He helped me a lot with the mental side (of the game) and preparing myself every single day. He was great to me and I thank him for that.

Q: You talked about being a baseball player and being out there, how difficult was it to sit on the sidelines as you negotiated a contract?
A: My agents felt it was the best thing for me, I need to get my body back in check and rest a little bit. Everything works out.

Q: Can you play anything other than first?
A: Yes, I play third base and I can play the outfield.

Q: Did you do that at Sarasota?
A: I played first and third. And Ive been practicing that and all the positions -- whatever they want me to do, I'll do.

Q: Are you planning on playing in of the other positions in the instructionals or in Hawaii?
A: I'm not sure. My main priority is to play defense anywhere I can.

Q: How has it been for you to see the young players come along here in the last couple of weeks?
A: Jay Bruce talked to me and he's helped me out through the whole thing. It's great to see that and once I get here, those guys will help me out and it'll be an easy transition.

Q: What did Jay tell you?
A: Just stay cool and work every day. This is a great place, great city, great organization and a great fan base. They'll root for you and support you, so I'm very, very happy about that.

Q: You missed Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn
A: I wanted to meet those guys.

Q: In spring training they were teaching Jay Bruce how to act..
A: I know and now hes going to teach me how to act.

http://1530homer.com/cc-common/news/sections/sportsarticle.html?feed=265471&article=4271956

corkedbat
09-20-2008, 05:43 PM
I think with Votto and Bruce already holding down two of the four corner spots and Dickerson in CF, adding Alonzo (at 1b or LF) wouldn't leave much room for RH hitters in the middle of the lineup and I'd want to keep at lest two in the 3-6 spots.

Encarncaion (and possibly Frazier down the line) would be one, but where could the other hit? I'd be happy with a tandem of catchers along the lines of Hanigan hitting seventh or eigth, but don't see many catching prospects out there that will give you solid defense AND have a bat worthy of the middle of the lineup. I'd look at 2B & SS more for OBP and defense.

I don't think Alfonso starts the season with the big club. He might make a late season appearance in Cincy, unless he starts off on fire and there''s an injury. If I'm Jocketty, I go hard after a big RH bat who can play solid D for LF this offseason and then I worry about Votto/Alonzo when that time comes.

Matt LaPorta was instrumental to landing CC for the Brewers. If Alonzo hits as advertised, there's no telling who he might bring for the Reds.

OnBaseMachine
09-20-2008, 07:27 PM
Yonder took batting practice at GABP today:

ON YONDER ALONSO: He hit some good ones, showed some power and hit some line drives and, yes, he hit a few out yonder. Manager Dusty Baker after No. 1 draft pick Yonder Alonso took batting practice.

http://www.daytondailynews.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/dayton/cincinnatireds/

redsmetz
09-20-2008, 07:53 PM
Yonder took batting practice at GABP today:

ON YONDER ALONSO: He hit some good ones, showed some power and hit some line drives and, yes, he hit a few out yonder. Manager Dusty Baker after No. 1 draft pick Yonder Alonso took batting practice.

http://www.daytondailynews.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/dayton/cincinnatireds/

I bet Dusty's been licking his chops to throw that line out.

OnBaseMachine
09-20-2008, 07:56 PM
I bet Dusty's been licking his chops to throw that line out.

I think we all have. :D

OnBaseMachine
09-22-2008, 01:01 PM
Yonder is ready

Yonder Alonso, the team's No. 1 draft pick in June was at Friday's game (when the Reds hit seven homers) and he was at Sunday's game.

"He came into my office after the game and he was psyched," said Baker. "What I liked was that he was talking in terms of 'we,' and saying, 'How we're going to be next year.' Then he said, 'Man, what a game.' It's like he can't wait to get out there and play."

http://www.daytondailynews.com/s/content/oh/story/sports/pro/reds/2008/09/22/ddn092208spredsnotes.html

ol'Sparky
09-23-2008, 10:47 PM
Yonder @ 3rd base to start the season in '09 !!

dougdirt
09-23-2008, 11:33 PM
Yonder @ 3rd base to start the season in '09 !!

Please no. Yonder and the Reds can say he can play 3B all they want. That doesn't mean he can play it even close to good.

Blitz Dorsey
09-29-2008, 02:59 AM
Q: What's your impression of Great American Ball Park?
A: It's beautiful. It's huge.

There is a first time for everything.

ChatterRed
09-29-2008, 12:40 PM
Yonder reminds me of Edgar Martinez. A great hitter with no position.

bounty37h
09-29-2008, 01:05 PM
That's encouraging. I like hearing that.

I don't realistically think Alonso makes the team out of ST. I think he could be up with the club at some point next year, but I think out of ST would be a bit premature (and probably a bad idea).

Right answer for someone who made such demands and held out so long to even sign-I know, it was his agents doing, but it was too much imo.