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.
Earlier, Craig asked if Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber would play the outfield now that the World Series has come to Chicago, where there will be no DH. The answer to that is no, it appears. Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said that Schwarber has not been medically cleared to play the outfield, CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports.
Schwarber returned to the Cubs sooner than expected after suffering a fully-torn ACL and LCL in his left leg during an early April collision with teammate Dexter Fowler in Arizona. In preparation to join the Cubs for the World Series, Schwarber went to the Arizona Fall League and reportedly saw over 1,000 pitches from machines as well as Single-A pitchers. He doesn’t look like he’s missed a beat as he went 1-for-3 with a walk and a double (that was very nearly a home run) in Game 1, then drew a walk and hit two RBI singles in five plate appearances in Game 2.
At least right now, however, it appears Schwarber will serve as a bat off the bench for Games 3, 4, and 5 until he gets medical clearance.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Thursday that Astros bench coach Trey Hillman is leaving the team to manage the SK Wyverns in South Korea. According to Jeeho Yoo of Yonhap News, Hillman will earn $600,000 in each of two years plus a $400,000 signing bonus.
Hillman, 53, managed the Royals from 2008-10 but the team wasn’t very successful, putting up a 152-207 record before he was fired early in the 2010 season. Hillman was the bench coach for the Dodgers from 2011-13, served as a special assistant for the Yankees in 2014, and had been the Astros’ bench coach for the past two seasons.
Per MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart, the Astros released a statement which read:
Trey Hillman has accepted the managerial position of the SK Wyverns baseball club of the South Korean Professional Baseball League (KBO). We thank Trey for his contributions to the Astros success over the past two seasons and wish him the very best.
This won’t be Hillman’s first time working in baseball overseas. He managed the Nippon Ham Fighters in the Japan Pacific League from 2003-07.