Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 11/17/14

Once considered one of the best up-and-coming players in the game, Yonder Alonso has fallen off the map. Ranked by Baseball America as the top prospect in the Padres organization last year, Alonso slashed a decent .273/.348/.393 in his first full season in the majors. However, due to his lack of power (he only hit nine home runs last year) and the vast depth of the first base position, Alonso only ranked as the 39th-best first baseman according to ESPN’s Player Rater. Although the 39th ranked first baseman isn’t even worth starting in a deep NL-only league, the fact that Alonso is ranked so low makes him a great sleeper candidate for 2013. While Alonso hit “only” .273 last year, he should have hit much higher. His .318 BABIP might seem a little high — if not normal —  but it’s actually quite low for the type of hitter he is. Alonso hit line drives (balls that usually fall for hits) about 23.7% of the time last year, well above the league average of 20.9%. Plus, Alonso’s 2.8% infield fly rate (IFFB%, i.e. fly balls considered automatic outs) seems microscopic compared to the league average of 10.0%. Alonso’s expected stats, thanks to slash12 over at Beyond the Boxscore, confirm this hypothesis. His xAVG of .295 and xBABIP of .345 are much higher than the .273 and .318 marks he actually put up. To hammer this point in, there were seven other players (minimum 300 PA) with a LD% of at least 23.0% and an IFFB% under 3.0% — a batting mold similar to Alonso’s. Those players averaged a .294 average and a .360 BABIP. Alonso is definitely more of a .290 hitter than a .270 hitter, although it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he hit above .300 next year. PETCO’s new dimensions for 2013, thanks to nationalwestblog.wordpress.com. However, the real question with Alonso surrounds his power production. Alonso’s HR/FB rate last year was a measly 6.4%, much lower than the league average of 11.3%. You would think that the low HR/FB rate is a result of playing half his games in the spacious PETCO Park, but that isn’t the case. Alonso’s home/road splits don’t show much of a difference: 4.8% at home, 7.6% on the road. Alonso has never really been a big home run hitter — the most home runs he’s hit in a single season is 17 in 2011 — however, the fences were just moved in at PETCO, and that may help turn some long doubles into homers. I would put Alonso’s home run total for next year at around 15 dingers. (Note: Here’s a good read on PETCO’s new dimensions where Alonso was projected to have five more homers in 2012 had the new dimensions existed last year.) While Alonso might not be a good starting first baseman due to his lower power numbers, he can still be a valuable utility player because of his good batting average and solid all-around numbers. He did play 16 games in the outfield last season, so he becomes more valuable in a five-outfielder league if he has that eligibility, however the best way to use a player like Alonso would be to pair him with a low-batting slugger, someone like Adam Dunn or Carlos Peña. That way you still get the power numbers, and Alonso evens out your batting average so that low-average slugger doesn’t kill your team. With the league batting average dropping to .255 last year, the lowest it’s been since 1989, good .300 hitters are harder to come by in fantasy. Take advantage of this, and take a flier on Alonso in the late rounds of your draft next year. Tweet

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

MLB could move Orioles’ home games to another city

Kyle Lowry isn't exactly endorsing coach Dwayne Casey

J.R. Smith suspended two games for hitting Jae Crowder

Duke takes over as the No. 1 recruiting class

Kevin Love not expected to be available next series

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Titans have reportedly been 'all over' Marcus Mariota

Report: Browns talked with Redskins about trading up

Doc Rivers tore into Clippers in film room after blowout loss

Josh Hamilton officially traded back to Rangers

Report: Landing Adrian Peterson too costly for Cardinals

Report: Antonio Brown joins Steelers voluntary work outs

WATCH: Paul Pierce bangs glass at Capitals-Islanders Game 7

Jon Jones turns himself into police, facing felony charge

Report: Brady was at stadium day of White House visit

Arkansas has leather belt to commemorate Texas Bowl win

John Angelos, Orioles got it right with Freddie Gray protest

Belichick's girlfriend fine with coach checking out Teigen

V. Stiviano posts birthday message to 'BFF' Donald Sterling

Mark Cuban and the inevitable playoff peril of the Mavs

Wizards made Raptors look bad while remaking themselves

Previewing Game 7 showdown between Islanders and Capitals

WATCH: Rick Carlisle tapes mouth shut so he can't rip refs

NFL Draft 2015: Ranking the quarterbacks

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Jon Jones turns himself into police, facing felony charge

MLB could move Orioles’ home games

Duke takes over as the No. 1 recruiting class

Titans have been 'all over' Mariota?

Doc Rivers tore into Clippers after loss

Worst picks ever by every NFL franchise

Report: Cowboys not in on Peterson

NFL Draft 2015: Ranking the QBs

Top 10 storylines for the 2015 NFL Draft

Paul Pierce trolls Raptors fans

Yes, ESPN2 is airing video games

Darko Milicic is enjoying life

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.