Another year, another season of mediocrity for Yonder Alonso, who has long lost any semblance of hype from his prospect days. His biggest fantasy asset is playing time, and in 2016, he logged nearly a full season;s worth of at-bats after a few years of platoon play and injuries. The vet, who turns 30 in April, posts contact rates befitting a .300 hitter but has only hit above .280 in a full season twice. Not even his typically above-average plate-discipline indicators have helped him offer consistently great on-base percentages. And of course, fantasy players desire more power from a corner infielder than what he can give. He hasn't hit double-digit homers in a season yet, thanks to his underwhelming ability to hit flyballs. Maybe one year, he'll figure out how to leave the yard, but 2017 is not the season to bank on it without a major change to his approach.
Alonso went 2-for-3 with a three-run home run in Sunday's 9-8 Cactus League victory over the Cubs. Alonso launched his second round-tripper of spring over the right-field fence as he remains one of Oakland's hottest hitters, sporting a .421/.560/.789 line over 19 at-bats. The veteran first baseman could be primed for a bounce-back campaign at the plate after seeing downturns in average, OBP, slugging, OPS and walk rate last season compared to the numbers he generated in 2015 as a Padre.
Alonso went 1-for-2 with a solo home run in a 6-1 Cactus League victory over the Giants on Friday. Alonso went deep for the first time this spring by launching a Jeff Samardzija pitch to left in the second to open the scoring on the day. The 29-year-old first baseman re-upped with Oakland this offseason on a one-year, $4 million deal after slashing .253/.316/.367 with 34 doubles, seven homers and 56 RBI over 156 games in his 2016 debut campaign with the club. Alonso remains atop the depth chart at first base, with the emerging Ryon Healy, who also homered in Friday's win, capable of serving as a right-handed option against southpaws.
Alonso agreed to a one-year, $4 million contract with the A's, avoiding arbitration, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Alonso was considered a potential non-tender candidate, so this deal allows him to stay on in Oakland for a second season with the A's. The 29-year-old played in a career-high 156 games and posted a .253/.316/.367 line with seven home runs last season, and he figures to once again serve as the primary option at first base in 2017.
Alonso is not in the lineup Friday against the Rangers. The Rangers are trotting left-hander Cole Hamels out to pitch Friday night, so Alonso will retreat to the bench for a night off. Danny Valencia will slide over to first base to replace him.
Alonso finished 3-for-4, including a two-RBI double and a run scored in Wednesday night's 8-0 win over Kansas City. The bottom-half of the A's lineup hit the ball hard, churning out runs early and often, including Alonso's double off starter Yordano Ventura in the top of the first to begin the rout -- the two-run liner to left was the beginning of the end of a strong three-game series for the 29-year-old first baseman, as he tallied five hits (two doubles), five RBI and three runs scored while not recording a strikeout in 10 at-bats.