Yonder Alonso can hit. A career .393/.30/.466 hitter in the minors, he's hitting a whopping .400/.500/.743 with the Reds this season. Unfortunately he can't really play defense, at least not at a position where the Reds don't have Joey Votto stationed, so he's only gotten 42 plate appearances, as manager Dusty Baker continues to bury him on the bench.
But why? Yes, Alonso has been pretty brutal in left field in limited playing time thus far, but he's not nearly as bad as he's looked since coming up to the big leagues this year. After all, he was playing left field in Triple-A, and though he hardly got good reviews for his defensive work, scouts weren't breaking out into fits of laughter at the mention of his name or anything. It certainly seems as though he ought to be good enough to pass for a left fielder in the National League with that sort of offensive potential. And besides, the Reds really have nothing to lose at this point, sitting 13.5 games behind the Brewers in the Central and 14 games behind the Braves in the wild card standings, they're basically just playing out the remaining games in 2011 at this point.
One does wonder if there's some issues in the front office, though. General manager Walt Jocketty decided to call up one of his top prospects late in the season, but Baker has basically refused to play him. That's a situation that simply defies logic, and from the outside looking in it appears that the manager and GM may not be on the same page right now.