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Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Reds' Alonso no match for Votto

Ah, spring. When every talented prospect with a few weeks of Double-A experience is knocking on the door of the majors. And I'm afraid I'm assigned the unfortunate duty of knocking these tyros down a notch or two, until the Almighty (read: me) decides they're actually ready to play at the game's absolute highest level (or maybe the National League). Case in point:

Drafting the best player is a perfectly reasonable policy. As near as I can figure, the only flaw is that if you wind up having to trade the kid -- say, because his only position is played by someone better -- you might get slightly less than full value because your prospective trading partners know you have to trade him. That's a small (and perhaps nonexistent) thing, though.

For the moment, let's dispense with the notion that Alonso is ready for the majors. He's played only 29 games above Class A, and wasn't outstanding in those 29 games. As John Sickels points out in his new book (which you should buy), as a professional Alonso's got a .211/.326/.296 line against left-handed pitchers ... and was little better while starring for Miami.

There's also little reason to think he would last long in left field, or at third base. Almost 23, Alonso is a big fellow and will only get bigger and slower. He's just not someone the Reds can play right now, and probably won't be at any point this year.

Alonso's future? Well, that's up to the front office. If the Reds are willing to entertain the notion of trading Votto a year or so from now, they should groom Alonso as their First Baseman of the Future (which would include getting him a ton of at-bats against Triple-A pitchers, along with extra BP against left-handers with good breaking balls). If they're not willing to trade Votto, then Alonso should be placed wherever he's most likely to succeed, with the aim of driving his trade value as high as possible.