Add another name to the ever-growing “best shape of my life” list.
John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer caught up with Yonder Alonso today and reports that the Reds prospect has lost about 18 pounds already this offseason.
Alonso hired a personal chef and switched up his workout routine in order to prepare for potential outfield action, which the 24-year-old called “part of being a professional.”
Fay described Alonso as “noticeably trimmer and more cut.”
Whether or not that actually enables him to become a passable defensive outfielder remains to be seen after he looked pretty awful anywhere but first base for the Reds. And in the meantime Alonso’s name will continue to pop up in just about every Reds-related rumor because he’s stuck behind Joey Votto at first base.
Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.
Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.
Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.
What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.
That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.