Yonder Alonso acquisition could stir the pot further in San Diego


Former Cincinnati top-prospect Yonder Alonso is bringing his bat to San Diego.

The Reds have acquired Mat Latos from the Padres, according to Ken Rosenthal, while blue-chip prospect Yonder Alonso heads to the Padres along with Edinson Volquez, Yasmani Grandal and Brad Boxberger.

While the Padres give up their emerging ace in Latos, who started to put it together at the end of last season, the front office struck while the iron was hot, receiving a major haul of prospects. Alonso (#3), Grandal (#4) and Boxberger (#10) are all among the top-10 prospects in the Reds organization according to Baseball America. In addition, the Padres replaced (in a sense) their ace with another legitimate front-of-the-rotation starter in Volquez, who was a first-time All-Star in 2008. However, he has been hindered by injuries the last few years.

Many rival executives already are speculating on corresponding Padres moves because Anthony Rizzo is at first base and Alonso is also more suited for first. Many believe Rizzo will be the next to go, being as Alonso doesn’t fit in PETCO Park’s spacious outfield and his natural position is first base. One things is almost certain, this is the first of many moves by the Padres this winter. Here’s a breakdown of the prospects the Padres acquired:

Yonder Alonso
Age: 24
Bats: Left
Height: 6’-2”
Weight: 210 lbs

Scouting Report: Alonso is mechanically sound from the left side with very good plate discipline. He uses all fields spraying the ball with authority. He has very good power and should hit for a high average as well. His good plate recognition and approach, and accompanied with his raw power, he should be an OBP-machine while flirting with 20-25 home runs (if not more) perennially. He has good bat speed with an effortless swing. He has below-average speed, but not uncommon for a first baseman. He should grow into a average first baseman defensively. The Reds tinkered around with him in the outfield because of this guy named Joey Votto, wasn’t sure if you had heard of him, but Alonso’s future is at first. Last year, upon his promotion to bigs, Alonso looked more than ready hitting .330/.398/.545 with five home runs and 15 RBIs in 88 AB. Last year, in triple-A, he hit .296/.374/.486 with 24 2B, 4 3B, 12 HR and 56 RBI in 358 AB.

Yasmani Grandal
Age: 23
Bats: Switch
Height: 6’-2”
Weight: 210 lbs

Scouting Report: Grandal has a sound hitting approach, decent bat speed, and profiles as an above-average hitting catcher at the major-league level. He currently has raw untapped power, but he has the potential to be an above-average, power-hitting catcher moving forward. His bat profiles more favorably from the left side, like many switch-hitters’ do. Defensively, he is a solid receiver behind the dish with a strong and accurate arm. Last year between high-A, double-A and triple-A, Grandal made great strides flourishing at each level, hitting .305/.401/.500 with 31 2B, 14 HR and 68 RBI in 374 AB.

Brad Boxberger
Age: 23
Throws: Right
Height: 6’-2”
Weight: 200 lbs

Scouting Report: Boxberger is a three-pitch pitcher. His fastball sits comfortably between 91-92 mph, and on occasion can touch 94 mph with good action to either side of the plate. He has two secondary pitches, a curveball and a circle change-up. Boxberger was the Reds best reliever prospect and has very good promise as a potential closer very soon. In two seasons in the Reds organization, the right-hander has a combined 3.75 ERA in 153.2 IP with 70 BB (4.1 BB/9) and 203 K (11.9 SO/9). Last year, he dominated with a 2.03 ERA between double-A and triple-A with a 13.5 strikeout per 9 innings pitched ratio with 93 Ks in 62 IP.

Volquez can be a front-of-the-rotation starter when healthy. Having said that, he has had problems staying on the field the last few seasons. The 2008 All-Star went 5-7 with a underwhelming 5.71 ERA in arguably the best hitters park in baseball last year in 108.2 IP. He did strikeout 104, so almost a strikeout per inning pitched. If Volquez can remain healthy, he, like any pitcher to step foot into PETCO Park, will benefit from its hitter-friendly confines.

I know for Padres fans it’s hard to see a bulldog competitor, emerging ace and fan-favorite go in Latos, but the Padres are trying to build a complete team for the long-term and a winning team during a transition year. The consensus, thus far, from rival executives, is Padres GM Josh Byrnes received a very very good haul.

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