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Thursday, December 21, 2017

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: YONDER ALONSO 1B CLEVELAND INDIANS

The Hot Stove Season kept on moving Wednesday when USA Today reported that first baseman Yonder Alonso had agreed in principle to a two-year deal worth $16 million with the Cleveland Indians.  With the Indians having just lost incumbent first baseman Carlos Santana to the Philadelphia Phillies, Alonso will simply replace his counterpart; with Edwin Encarnacion continuing to man the DH slot.  So in terms of 2018 fantasy baseball, let's take a closer look at what was a strange year for Alonso in 2017.

Of course the big thing with Alonso last season was his sudden and out-of-the-blue power spike during the first half of the year while with the Oakland A's.  While there is no debating Alonso's previous standing as a top hitting prospect (7th overall pick in 2008) with the Cincinnati Reds, it also is not up for discussion how disappointing he was there and then with the San Diego Padres.  While Alonso had a decent line drive swing, his power never developed as he went into the 2017 season with a career-high of just 9 home runs set in 2012.  That made Alonso a pariah to the fantasy baseball community since it is mandatory that big power comes with the position.  Thus no one paid attention early on when Alonso starting hitting home runs at the jump of 2017 but soon that would change as he went into the All-Star Break with 20 long balls, 43 RBI, and a .275 average.  Impressive stuff and it seemed like Alonso was the new Daniel Murphy in terms of tapping into power midway through a career by changing his approach.  Well Alonso failed to sustain that run and in fact he was a major liability the rest of the way as he hit all of 8 home runs, collected 24 RBI, and batted .254 during the second half of the season (which included a run with the Seattle Mariners after getting deal during the late summer).  Thus it was tough to totally trust what Alonso produced as a whole last season (28 homers, 67 RBI, .266) and so his standing in 2018 fantasy baseball should remain that of a backup first baseman in mixed formats.

What does need to be noted is that it seemed like Alonso did swing for the fences like never before since his 22.6 K/9 was a career-worst and his .302 BABIP was right in the neutral area code.  However buying into the power fully is foolish given the small sample size and so again grade out Alonso as a backup fantasy baseball first baseman and hope for another uptick this season.  Another run like last season would be an added bonus.




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