Padres Birthday Spotlight: Yonder Alonso


Apr 2, 2015; Peoria, AZ, USA; San Diego Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso (23) triples during the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Peoria Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Happy 28th birthday to San Diego Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso!

Alonso was born in La Habana, Cuba and was drafted out of the University of Miami in 2008 by the Cincinnati Reds. He played 69 games for the Reds before being dealt to the Padres after the 2011 season. A deal that also brought catcher Yasmani Grandal and pitcher Edinson Volquez to the Pads in exchange for starting pitcher Mat Latos.

He was a highly touted prospect, as he was drafted 7th overall. When he came to San Diego, he was supposed to replace the recently departed Adrian Gonzalez. Most argue that he has not panned out or has yet to truly tap into the power he supposedly has; he was scouted as a hitter who could average 15-20 home runs a year. Entering his fourth season with the Padres, his career home run high is nine in 2012.

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Last season he was hampered by injuries and only played in 84 games. Perhaps if he played closer to a full season, he may have reached his home run projection. With a .240 average and seven home runs, he once again disappointed last season.

This season he looks to reverse the trend and finally establish himself as the Padres’ everyday first baseman for the foreseeable  future. He had a solid spring hitting .327 while slugging .473.

The brother-in-law of Manny Machado, Alonso looks to up his power numbers to mirror those of Machado (who himself is trying to return to form after being hurt). The Padres control Alonso until 2018, so there is a lot of time for him to develop. However, if his stats in 2015 look similar to those of the past few years, the Friars will look elsewhere for an everyday first baseman.

Alonso may be a crucial part of where this team ends up in October. We expect production from the new players, but it is the mainstays like Alonso, Jedd Gyorko and Alexi Amarista who also need to step up their game in order for this lineup to produce enough runs to win night after night.

In his 337 games with the Padres, he is hitting .267 with 22 home runs and 134 RBIs. Hopefully he can have a career year in 2015.

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