Reds top prospect Yonder Alonso is a first baseman, but the seventh overall pick in the 2008 draft is blocked there by reigning MVP Joey Votto.
In an effort to find a long-term home for Alonso in the lineup alongside Votto the Reds have been using him in left field and now Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that they’ve even started giving him some ground balls at third base.
I’ve seen plenty of prospect analysts express doubt about Alonso’s ability to be a decent left fielder, so third base is probably stretch.
With that said, Alonso did tell Sheldon that “third base was my position growing up” and “it comes easier than the other two positions.” Alonso also pointed out that he played first base in college in part because the University of Miami had Ryan Braun and Danny Valencia on the roster and “those were two pretty good third basemen.”
Regardless of his position Alonso hasn’t played much at all since being called up from Triple-A on July 26 and he seems far more likely to be traded this offseason than to see significant action at third base in Cincinnati. Alonso, who ranked 73rd on Baseball America‘s list of top prospects coming into the season, has hit .296 with 24 homers, 55 doubles, and an .842 OPS in 192 games at Triple-A, so right now his bat projecting as less than elite might be a bigger issue than his eventual home defensively.
Facing an elimination number of one, the Astros staved off elimination in the AL West by beating the Diamondbacks on Friday night by a 6-1 margin. The Rangers suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Angels on Saturday afternoon, which temporarily put the Astros’ fate in their own hands.
Colby Rasmus hit a pair of solo homers and Jose Altuve added a solo shot of his own. Starter Collin McHugh tossed seven innings of one-run ball, limiting the Diamondbacks to six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Reliever Will Harris allowed a solo home run to Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth, but Luke Gregerson closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.
The Astros trail the Rangers by one game in the AL West and lead the Angels by one game for the second AL Wild Card slot. The Rangers can clinch the AL West on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Astros loss. The Astros can clinch the second AL Wild Card on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Angels loss.
The Yankees lost both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles and lead the Astros by only one game for the first AL Wild Card slot.
If the Astros win and the Rangers lose on Sunday, they will play an AL West tiebreaker in Texas. The winner will win the second AL Wild Card if the Yankees win on Sunday, or the first AL Wild Card if the Yankees lose on Sunday.
If the Astros lose and the Angels win on Sunday, the two teams will be tied for the second AL Wild Card. They would play a tiebreaker in Houston, and the winner would play the Yankees in New York in the Wild Card game.
Giants second baseman Kelby Tomlinson looked more like Ladainian Tomlinson the way he was running during Saturday afternoon’s game against the Rockies. In the first inning with one out against starter Chris Rusin, Tomlinson hit a fly ball into the right-center field gap at AT&T Park, a great place to go if you’re in the mood for an inside-the-park home run.
Neither Carlos Gonzalez nor Chris Dickerson could corral the ball before it rolled all the way to the 421-foot marker at the fence. Tomlinson motored around the bases, but Gonzalez made a strong throw into cut-off man D.J. LeMahieu, and LeMahieu made a great throw in to catcher Tom Murphy, but Tomlinson slid in safely just ahead of the tag.
It was an exciting play and the hit proved important as the Giants eked out a 3-2 win against the Rockies.