Yes, a 25 year old former utility infielder still in high A ball, Carlos Alonso, is a major league prospect and his play this season and especially yesterday for the Clearwater Threshers shows why. The four year veteran of the Phillies farm system is in his second year with the Threshers in the Florida State League, the third rung down in minor league baseball. Yet Carlos is off to one of the best starts of any player in the system by playing smart baseball.
Finally put in the lead off spot in yesterday’s game and given a chance to play second base on a regular basis this season, Alonso put on a clinic on how to be a lead off hitter in the game against the Lakeland Flying Tigers. In his first four at bats he was on base every time with a hit by pitch, two walks and a bunt single. He scored two runs to lead the Threshers and ace pitcher Percy Garner to a quick 4-0 lead after six innings. But the weak Threshers bullpen imploded giving up seven runs in the next two innings for a 7-4 loss.
As most of the time with minor league baseball it is not whether a team wins or loses but how certain players play the game. Carlos Alonso knows how to play the game. He was on base in four of his five at bats. He is now second in the Florida State League in on base percent (OBP) at .470 and sixth in OBP plus slugging (OPS) at .931 this season. He is hitting .327. And he has made some great plays at second base in the games we have seen him play.
Carlos Alonso embodies the baseball concept of Moneyball explained in the the book by Michael Lewis, played in the movie of the same name by Brad Pitt and implemented in major league baseball by Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane. Simply put “rigorous statistical analysis has demonstrated that on base percent and slugging percent are better indications of offensive and defensive success” than traditional measure such as batting averages. It helps low budget teams compete with the big spenders.
Reports are the Phillies are not great advocates of the Moneyball sabermetric concepts. General Manger Ruben Amaro Jr. said he likes “production” more than walks, Charlie Manuel as we all know is a fan of the long ball and former GM and current Amaro advisor Pat Gillick is reportedly not a fan of Moneyball either. If Carlos can’t make it in Philadelphia he sure can make it to the majors in many of the 29 other cities where the moneyball concept is more encouraged.
Baseball Betsy and I had a chance to briefly talk to Carlos Friday night after the Threshers game at Brighthouse. Betsy won a bid on his jersey in a fundraiser for Ed Randall’s “Bat For the Cure” fighting prostate cancer drive. I told Carlos “I like the way he plays the game”. Hopefully, the Phillies Front Office will take note of how he plays the game as well; move him up the minor league chain and give him a chance to compete for the big team’s second base job some day if Chase Utley is not re-signed after his contract expires at the end of this season. For a team that does not walk very much they could use a moneyball type player in the lineup to score some runs. In my opinion Carlos Alonso is that type of moneyball major league prospect who could help just about every major league team.