Mark Shelton, MLB.com Reds beat guy, reported Dusty Baker said the organization is thinking about moving 1B prospect Yonder Alonso to catcher. Alonso is a right-handed thrower and left-handed batter and is blocked at 1B by Joey Votto, which makes some sense, but then you think about other problems.
- Alonso is 23 right now.
- Alonso, who went to the University of Miami, never played any position but first in his collegiate career.
This is like saying you’re going to move your left fielder to short stop. The transition is possible, but highly unlikely; and even if successful, it’ll take years.
I’m not 100% on the conversion rates of infielders or outfielders moving to catcher, but I know Russell Martin was drafted as a third baseman and converted to catcher. After three years in the minors as a catcher, he received the call and has been there ever since. Consider that he was 20 when they started him behind the plate and 23 before making his pro debut.
Alonso is ready to go right now after passing through the Reds minor league system with flying colors–maybe he needs another half a season in AAA just to make sure, but it looks like he’s got everything together. Training him for two years to play catcher is wasting two years of his career. Either this is the stupidest mismanagement of a baseball career in history or the worst bluff before trading a player in history. It is not, however, the worst mismanagement of a young, talented pitcher in history.