The Oakland Athletics made a few trades this offseason including one with the San Diego Padres. In this trade, the A’s sent Drew Pomeranz and Jose Torres to Southern California while the Padres dispatched first baseman Yonder Alonso and reliever Marc Rzepczynski to Oakland. The acquisition of Alonso sealed Ike Davis’ fate and the Athletics did not tender Davis’ contract for the 2016 season.
Now the A’s have a new first baseman. Originally from Havana, Cuba, Alonso has played in Major League Baseball for six years. Even though he has not proven to not have much of a power bat, he does get on base regularly. In 2015, Alonso had a .361 OBP as well as a .282 batting average. Additionally, his WAR has only improved each year that he has played in the big leagues. In 2015, he had a career high 1.8 WAR. Lastly, he has been quite successful offensively this spring, hitting .471/.526/.471 with a .997 OPS over 17 at-bats.
When it comes to fielding, Alonso really only plays at first base. Even though he has seen some time at third and in the outfield, it is unlikely that the Athletics are going to move Alonso from first. Overall, he is a decent fielder with a career-average .994 fielding percentage at that position and only commits two to three errors per season.
Even though the A’s have stated that Alonso is their everyday first baseman for the 2016 season, it is expected that Alonso, who bats left, and right-handed hitter Mark Canha will platoon first base. However, if either of their bats is particularly hot at any point during the season, expect the A’s to stick that player at first more often than the other. Additionally, because Alonso has quite a bit more experience than Canha, hopefully Alonso can mentor Canha into becoming an effective Major League first baseman.
For the 2016 season, fans should expect much of the same stuff offensively and defensively from Alonso. He will not belt a ton of homers or make dramatic fielding plays at first, but he will be a consistent and reliable player. If anything does change, hopefully it is his offense. Perhaps it will continue its upward trend and he will improve at the plate this year.
Alonso spoke with KHTK Sports Sacramento on Thursday and talked about this upcoming season. Even though the A’s have been predicted to be not so good in 2016, Alonso has faith that the team will perform well. Let’s hope he is right!
Bold Prediction: Yonder Alonso will hit more than 10 homers in one season — something he has not done yet in his six-year MLB career.