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OnBaseMachine
02-23-2010, 03:57 PM
Votto befriends Alonso, his competition
By Hal McCoy | Tuesday, February 23, 2010, 01:19 PM

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Yonder Alonso hears it almost in his sleep and for certain hears it over and over and over from his friends in Doral, Florida.

It goes something like this: “Hey, Yonder. You’re a first baseman and Joey Votto is a first baseman. What are you going to do, man? What’s going to happen?”

Alonso thought the same thing when he walked into his first major-league spring training camp with the Cincinnati Reds last year as the team’s No. 1 draft pick in 2008 and the club’s top prospect.

And then he met Joey Votto.

“People ask me that at home and I look at it like this: The guy is probably the best player on the team, if not THE best player. I just try to learn from him every single day. That’s all I try to do. I pretty much nag him. I ask him every day, ‘What do I do here and how do I do that?’ That’s the way it was all last spring.”

What flabbergasted Alonso is that Votto befriended him, despite the fact they both are young and both play the same position.

“He is a good friend,” Alonso said. “He is a great baseball player, a good person and a good friend. You don’t find many guys like that, especially guys at the same position on the same team.

“I thought when I first came in, ‘Man, it is going to be hard dealing with Votto,’ ” Alonso said. “But it was the exact opposite. He has just done nothing but help me out and been a good friend. He told me how Albert Pujols (of the St. Louis Cardinals) helped him out a lot and he is trying to do the same for me.

“You never know what is going to happen because this game is so crazy,” he said. “This is my first year and a lot of things went on - injuries, trades. And I look at it that I’ll do whatever it takes, like play first, third, left, right or pinch-hit. As long as I can play and help the team.”

SPEAKING OF never knowing what events are in your future, Alonso suffered a major one last year.

He began the season at high-A in Sarasota and hit .303 in 49 games with seven homers and 38 RBIs.

HE WAS PROMOTED to Double-A Carolina in early June. It was one week into his Double-A career and Alonso takes it from here:

“We were playing a doubleheader in Knoxville (Tenn.) and in the minors they play seven innings in doubleheaders,” he said. “Well, the first game went 10 innings and I hit a game-winning home run.

“We had 25 minutes between games and then in my first at-bat in the second game I took a swing and fouled off a pitch,” he said. “But I felt something in my neck. It hurt. The trainer came out and looked at my right hand and it was blue. When he touched it, man, the pain was awful.”

Turned out Alonso fractured a bone in his right wrist that required surgery and put him out of action for 10 weeks.

“I started out really good in high-A,” he said. “It’s a tough league to hit in. Then I went to Double-A and was doing good for a week and suddenly I’m done for 10 weeks. I hit that home run and then the next at-bat, poof, I was gone. Done for 10 weeks and that really sucked.

“When I broke it, it landed on two of the veins in my wrist and the pain went all the way to my neck,” he said. “I thought something was wrong with my neck and I told the trainer, ‘My neck, my neck,’ but he pointed to my palm and it was blue.’ “

And his thoughts?

“I had to deal with it, but at the time I thought, ‘Oh my God, what is going on?’ I thought I was done for the year,” he said. “I’m done, that’s it, I won’t play the rest of the year.”

ALONSO DID his rehab work, even though he thought his season was over, and came back in time to play the last week for Carolina, then for Class AAA Louisville in the post-season playoffs.

“I wasn’t healthy, wasn’t 100 percent, but I was able to at least help my team win some games,” he said.

“It was rough, man,” he said.

Now he is in his second big-league camp and is enjoying it much more than last year.

“This is unbelievable,” he said. “Last year it wasn’t much fun because I didn’t know anybody and I didn’t want to step on anybody’s shoes. But I played in high-A, Double-A and Triple-A and I got to know everybody. So we all hang around now, just trying to enjoy things. Much more fun this year.”

ALONSO played mostly first base all last year, but dabbled a few games in left field. He didn’t play any third base, “But I took ground balls there every day, every single day. I could have played there but we have too many guys who are third basemen - guys like Chris Valaika, Zack Cozart, Todd Frazier and Juan Francisco.”

There is no doubt his future is top-shelf, but it remains in the future where he plays and for whom he plays.

http://www.daytondailynews.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/dayton/cincinnatireds/entries/2010/02/23/votto_befriends_alonso_his_com.html?cxtype=feedbot

jmcclain19
02-23-2010, 04:26 PM
There is no competition between these two.

Last year one guy raked against major league pitching while the other was pretty average against AA hurlers. And that same hitter looked mighty weak in the tough Arizona Fall League.

That's still a massive gap to overcome.

dougdirt
02-23-2010, 04:54 PM
There is no competition between these two.

Last year one guy raked against major league pitching while the other was pretty average against AA hurlers. And that same hitter looked mighty weak in the tough Arizona Fall League.

That's still a massive gap to overcome.

There is no competition yet. As for Alonso and the AFL.... he wasn't 100% and he won't be until next June/July.

Nasty_Boy
02-23-2010, 05:39 PM
Obviously Votto is the man and as long as he keeps putting up numbers like he did last season he isn't in any danger... But Alonso has some great tools and I think his approach at the plate is what this team needs more of. He could force himself into some big league playing time before this year is over. I love the potential upside of bats like Bruce, Votto, Alonso, and Frazier all being in the lineup together... I just wish I knew what position they'll be playing.

icehole3
02-23-2010, 05:55 PM
I would love to see Alonso, Bruce and Votto on the field at the same time, all peaking smashing the ball, that would be my dream

UKFlounder
02-23-2010, 05:57 PM
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer...;)

jmcclain19
02-23-2010, 09:19 PM
There is no competition yet. As for Alonso and the AFL.... he wasn't 100% and he won't be until next June/July.

The "he wasn't 100%" is often an excuse used to cover up not meeting expectations after an injury. It certainly didn't prevent him from having an OPS of over .900 the last
month he was in AA.

11larkin11
02-23-2010, 09:35 PM
The "he wasn't 100%" is often an excuse used to cover up not meeting expectations after an injury. It certainly didn't prevent him from having an OPS of over .900 the last
month he was in AA.

Hamate bone break drains your power. He still won't be 100% for awhile.

dougdirt
02-23-2010, 09:51 PM
The "he wasn't 100%" is often an excuse used to cover up not meeting expectations after an injury. It certainly didn't prevent him from having an OPS of over .900 the last
month he was in AA.

Alonso had 44 at bats in AA when he came back from the injury. OPS over that amount of at bats is about as useful as ERA over 12 innings pitched for a starter. As for it being an excuse.... sure, if you don't believe doctors or the hundred of baseball players who have diagnosed/had the injury who say it takes about 12 months for the power to come back to where it was prior to the injury.

bucksfan2
02-24-2010, 09:26 AM
Alonso had 44 at bats in AA when he came back from the injury. OPS over that amount of at bats is about as useful as ERA over 12 innings pitched for a starter. As for it being an excuse.... sure, if you don't believe doctors or the hundred of baseball players who have diagnosed/had the injury who say it takes about 12 months for the power to come back to where it was prior to the injury.

My problem is Doug, Alonso hasn't proven a single thing. The injury thing may be a very legit reason, but that still doesn't hide the fact that Alonso just hasn't produced to the level that a top 10 pick should in the minors.

At the same time how many times have we seen a player flame out because of an injury in the minors. So yea that injury can be used as an excuse, but it also can be a serious cause for concern.

Team Clark
02-24-2010, 09:53 AM
There is no competition yet. As for Alonso and the AFL.... he wasn't 100% and he won't be until next June/July.

It always amazes me how player injuries are rarely accounted for when looking at a player's year. Reminds me of Cantu. Guy had a foot injury he could barely stand on and had a crappy year. Reds sign him and the nay sayers were going crazy. Granted his defense was never stellar but the guy came back and hit pretty well and was productive.

dunner13
02-24-2010, 10:07 AM
I have no doubt that Alonso is a better hitter then he showed last year but he is going to have to improve alot to convince me that we should move votto off first. To me the best case senario is that alonso has a big first half and we can trade him to fill some holes for a postseason run.

Nasty_Boy
02-24-2010, 10:35 AM
Everyone is acting like Alonso hasn't hit at all... When the guy has been healthy he has been very productive. I don't understand how people can say this guy hasn't proven anything? He has proven that he can handle the bat (in a pitchers league) and he doesn't even have a full year of minor league baseball under his belt. This guy has all the tools needed to become a middle of the order hitter and he's a year or two ahead of Votto at the same age. Granted, I'm not for moving Votto anytime soon but if Alonso is healthy he's going to force the Reds hand within the next year. He's either going to be at 1st with Votto in LF or in LF himself, if he's not traded to acquire some major talent. The guy can hit and frankly the Reds need more guys with his (and Votto's) skill set than guys like Francisco.

Bumstead
02-24-2010, 10:55 AM
I find the Alonso bashers comical. Thanks for the entertainment!

:beerme: Thanks, I'll have another... :beerme:

OnBaseMachine
02-24-2010, 01:09 PM
Here's a little piece on wrist injuries and power:

http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2010/2/23/1323948/wrist-injuries-and-power-a-quick

dougdirt
02-24-2010, 01:17 PM
My problem is Doug, Alonso hasn't proven a single thing. The injury thing may be a very legit reason, but that still doesn't hide the fact that Alonso just hasn't produced to the level that a top 10 pick should in the minors.

At the same time how many times have we seen a player flame out because of an injury in the minors. So yea that injury can be used as an excuse, but it also can be a serious cause for concern.

You do realize that Alonso would have finished in the top 3 in the Florida State League in AVG and OBP while leading the league in SLG by 30 points had he hung around long enough right? What else do you want the guy to do? He got hurt what, 13 days after leaving the league?

As for this injury, a ton of guys have it. They all come back. Some guys don't make it, but it wasn't from the injury it was from a lack of baseball skills.