Why He's Here: .478/.600/.913 (11-for-23), 5 R, 5 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 7 BB, 2 SO
The Scoop: Something just wasn't right with Alonso early in the season. After not looking quite right in the Arizona Fall League, Alonso struggled through the season's first three months, and his numbers were down to .224/.269/.328 on June 26. Maybe he wasn't fully recovered after suffering from a broken hamate bone last year. Whatever it was, Alonso has looked more like the dynamic hitter the Reds drafted in the first round two years ago. Since June 27, Alonso has hit .378/.444/.630 in 151 plate appearances, showing an improved approach at the plate and more power. Yet much like Matt LaPorta with the Brewers two years ago, Alonso is blocked at first base by Joey Votto, which means Alonso could become a valuable trade chip this offseason.
Neftali Soto also made an appearance, but not in a good way.
• Neftali Soto, 1b, Reds: Soto's return to high Class A was supposed to give him a chance to regain his confidence after a rough 2009 season. And he was working on catching as well, which would add to his prospect value. Soto hasn't picked up a catcher's mitt since June 1, and he hasn't played third base since before that. As a first baseman, Soto will depend more on his bat, which means this is a bad time for a slump. Soto hasn't posted a .300 on-base percentage since May, and he's 1-for-18 (.056) in the past week for high Class A Lynchburg.
Also, from the Chat:
Dan (Work): Yorman Rodriguez, best 17/18 year old in baseball? .340 average, .808 ops, potential top 100 prospect next list? If not him who is the best 17/18 year old?
Ben Badler: I don't see him as a top 100 guy. He's a great athlete but the approach has a long, long ways to go before I get that excited about him. Raw Pioneer League numbers need a heavy discount for hitters because of the offensive environment of that league. The second part of your question is easy: Mike Trout (18) and Bryce Harper (17), although if you want a 17-year-old in pro ball right now, it's either Miguel Sano or Gary Sanchez.