One of the most interesting storylines to start the 2017 Major League Baseball season has been the recent offensive production of Oakland Athletics first baseman Yonder Alonso of Havana, Cuba, who has exceeded expectations not just a little bit, but a lot.
In his first 90 at bats in 2017, Alonso has hit nine home runs, which has already tied a career high. However before you jump on the Alonso bandwagon, be cautious before adding him to your fantasy team.
There are number of reasons why Alonso is owned in only 35% of Yahoo! Fantasy Baseball Leagues. The first is his position. It doesn’t help matters that he plays first base, where there is immense focus on home runs and runs batted in. Alonso has put up decent offensive numbers in 2017, however one cannot ignore the fact that he has only hit 39 home runs over the last seven seasons prior to this year.
Alonso has also been low in fantasy rankings throughout his career because he has played the majority of his career on teams that have a pitcher-friendly baseball park. Like Oakland Alameda Coliseum in northern California, Petco Park in San Diego is also a very pitcher-friendly baseball park, and could be a reason why Alonso only had 27 home runs over four seasons from 2012 to 2015 with the Padres.
My advice regarding Alonso is unless you are in 20-team leagues, be patient with your current first baseman. Alonso is showing skill now, but the power numbers (which include 24 runs batted in, .667 slugging percentage and 1.053 on base plus slugging percentage) will probably not continue at an amazing pace throughout the regular season.
It may be time to strongly consider Baltimore Orioles interim closer Brad Brach. Twice already this season Zach Britton has had to go on the disabled list after a sparkling 2016 regular season. In 2017, Brach already has seven saves in 17 games, has a great earned run average of 2.04, and a brilliant WHIP of 0.79. Britton meanwhile may have a great earned run average of 1.00 in eight games this season, but has a horrible opponent batting average of .343 and WHIP of 1.78.
Do not be surprised if the Orioles slowly bring Britton back from his arm injury, which could give Brach more of an opportunity to solidify himself as the Orioles closer. Baltimore is definitely a contender for the World Series this season if they improve their starting pitching, and Brach should get his save opportunities while Britton is out.