What’s Wrong With Yonder Alonso?


Apr 13, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso (23) reacts after being hit by his own foul ball during the eighth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

With Carlos Quentin and Chase Headley on the shelf, and Cameron Maybin just getting back into action, the guy who really has to carry the load for the Padres’ offense is first baseman Yonder Alonso. The thing is though, he, like the Padres, are struggling offensively so far. I decided to delve into the stats a little bit and try to fine out what’s wrong with Alonso.

So far, his line is .172/.204/.237 with no homers and five RBI entering Wednesday night’s action. One month in that’s real bad. One reason for that is his BABIP which is just .195, means he’s also hit into some real bad luck. That won’t continue. But what about other numbers? Let’s look into them per Fangraphs.

One of the things that’s affecting his BABIP is his unusually high fly ball percentage. His career average is 33.3%. This year, he’s hit a fly ball 41.5% of the time. For someone who isn’t a big home run hitter, he can’t have that. He’s also hitting fly balls to the infield 11.8% of those fly outs compared to just over 5% in his career. He’s behind on the ball too much.

The lack of guys around him in the lineup is also affecting what kind of pitches he’s seeing. He’s seeing fastballs only 54% of the time compared to  56.4% last year. Pitchers are getting ahead of him in the count more, an astounding 67.4% of the time. You fall behind in the count and you’re gonna pay.

Alonso is chasing a little more too. He’s swinging outside the zone 30.9% of the time, compared to a career average of 29.9%. When pitches are in the zone and he swings, he’s making contact slightly less. He was at 92.8% and this year he’s down to 91.6%.

So what does it all mean? He needs to chase a little less, get a little more help and also hit into some better luck. I think Yonder will turn it around, but he needs to make some adjustments in order to do so.