Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Infield update (prospects)

I neglected to include comments on the infield prospects so I'm adding to my previous post.

The Red's top prospect is Yonder Alonso, a first baseman out of the University of Miami. He was the Reds' first pick in last year's draft and is a seasoned college player. He won't play in '09 but don't be surprised to see him in '10. He's not a bad fielder, but his lack of speed means he's stuck at first base. Look closely at whether the Reds move Votto or Eddy to left. That could foreshadow Alonso's big-league time frame. He's a five-star guy with huge upside. I expect he'll be a Paul Konerko ('05-'06, not '07-'08) type player in a couple years. He's got a good eye, and hammers the ball when he does swing. I haven't seen many top-100 prospects lists for '09 yet, but expect Alonso in the top half of most lists.

I recently got to see Chris Valaika play in person in the Arizona Fall League. He's a solid player. The Peoria Javelinas have him playing 2B, but he can also play SS and 3B. He went 2-4 with a double and two runs scored in the game I saw, and played solid defensively. Of course, the Reds also have Todd Frazier (their second best prospect), Neftali Soto, and Juan Francisco at 3B, so that may be why Valaika is playing 2B. Might it also indicate a move of BP to SS? We'll have to see.

Not much else on the prospect front for the infield. I did get to see another future Red in Arizona in Sean Henry. He's listed on the Javelinas' roster as a first baseman, but played right field in the game I saw. He batted lead-off, and started the game with a bunt single. He got to second on a wild pitch and stole third the first chance he got. Nice speed, but he's not on the radar of most prospect experts.

I'll do a full post on my AFL experience.

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