Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 2/4/13

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

Tom Brady lawsuit transferred from Minnesota to Manhattan

LeGarrette Blount failed conditioning test

Trent Richardson 'reclamation project not going so well'

Geno Smith laughed at being ranked last in QB poll

Penn State trash talks Notre Dame Twitter over 'Rudy'

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Aroldis Chapman unlikely to be traded

Mets’ trade for Carlos Gomez called off despite reports

Report: Rangers to acquire Cole Hamels from the Phillies

WATCH: Tulo hits first home run with Blue Jays

NFLPA officially files Brady lawsuit, wants QB to play Week 1

Mariota’s lack of red flags was a concern for NFL teams

NBA's Africa game: A tribute to Hakeem Olajuwon

Top storyline for each NFL team heading into training camp

Texas QB commit has great anti-Oklahoma T-shirt

WATCH: Tim Tebow does monster leg workout

Farrell: Sandoval's conditioning 'continues to be addressed'

Revis won't wear Super Bowl ring around Jets teammates

Former NBAer Vin Baker now works at Starbucks

Can Preller fix the mess in San Diego?

Mike Leach compares Deflategate to Kardashians

All Panthers home games will also be broadcast in Spanish

Giants owner calls Pierre-Paul debacle ‘very disappointing’

Panthers WR cited for marijuana paraphernalia, had child in car

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

Can Preller fix the mess in San Diego?

Next summer's top 10 NBA free agents

Who is the NL's new top shortstop?

Cardinals HC Bruce Arians calls Jen Welter a 'trailblazer'

Mets still act like a small-market team

Tom Brady: I did nothing wrong

NFL upholds Tom Brady's suspension, legal battle likely

Cardinals hire first female NFL coach

Larry Bird: Michael Jordan would kill me in 1-on-1 now

Seau family: HOF broke their word

Kobe to see time at power forward next year

Mike Pettine not ruling out Manziel

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker