Padres News: Who’s on First?
By Tim Richer
Aug 10, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; San Diego Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso (23) in the field against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at PNC Park. San Diego won 8-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
As in most competitions, the incumbent is the favorite at the very start. Despite the concerns I outlined earlier, Yonder Alonso will be starting at first base when the season kicks off in April. There’s really no reason for Bud Black to go with anyone else at this juncture. The once highly touted prospect deserves another chance to prove he’s capable of being an everyday player.
His injury history is the biggest red flag when it comes to Alonso, he’s not reliable. His first full season was back in 2012 when he played in 155 games for the Friars, but he has only played in just 181 games in the two since. One encouraging sign could be that a lot of his problems have stemmed from his wrist, which he had surgery on last year. The repaired tendon in his wrist will hopefully put the pain behind him. If it was the sole issue behind his injury issues we could see a full year out of Alonso in 2015.
That repaired wrist could do more than clear up the injury concerns for Alonso, it might improve his performance woes as well. The wrist is an integral part of hitting and having a damaged wrist would make it very difficult to perform up to a player’s capabilities. Last year he hit .240/.285/.397 with seven home runs. While the slash line was atrocious, surprisingly the seven home runs topped his 2014 total of six in thirteen fewer games. That may suggest that his power issues could extend beyond his wrist.
All in all, Alonso is the team’s best option but this year could be his last chance to prove he’s an everyday player. Nobody is expecting him to be an All Star, but he has to prove his worth.