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Yonder Alonso was quietly one of 2019’s most valuable Rockies’ hitters

Yonder Alonso was not asked to do much when he came to the Colorado Rockies, but he had a good deal of success

Welcome to the 2019 edition of Ranking the Rockies, where we take a look back at every player to log playing time for the Rockies in 2019. The purpose of this list is to provide a snapshot of the player in context. The “Ranking” is an organizing principle that’s drawn from Baseball Reference’s WAR (rWAR). It’s not something the staff debated. We’ll begin with the player with the lowest rWAR and end up with the player with the highest.

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No. 21, Yonder Alonso: 0.2 rWAR

Yonder Alonso was not asked to do much when he came to the Colorado Rockies, but in his limited opportunities, he had a good deal of success.

Alonso did not start his season with the Rockies, if you recall. He was traded from the Cleveland Indians to the Chicago White Sox last winter in what was speculated at the time to be a move that might entice Manny Machado (brother-in-law of Alonso) to take his talent to the south side of the Windy City. The White Sox also signed Jon Jay, a good friend of Machado’s. Ultimately, Machado ended up signing with the San Diego Padres. The entire situation ended up in a rather poor outcome for the White Sox and not just because they missed out on Machado. Jay and Alonso were both awful during their time in Chicago.

After batting .178/.275/.301 for the White Sox, Alonso was released on July 3. The Rockies picked him up on a minor league deal on July 11, and he made his organizational debut in Triple-A with the Albuquerque Isotopes that night. It didn’t take long for the Rockies to realize Alonso might improve their offense at the major league level. After he slashed a whopping .418/.500/.774 in nine games for the ‘Topes, the Rockies selected Alonso’s contract on July 23. In 84 plate appearances in the big leagues to end the year, Alonso hit .260/.357/.479, with three long balls (good for a 102 DRC+).

Alonso will be a free agent headed into this offseason. Could the seventh overall draft pick from 2008 play a role on the 2020 Rockies? It’s not immediately clear, but the 32-year-old could conceivably be an affordable bench bat, though he does swing from the left side of the plate and the Rox could be more interested in right-handed batters. His playing time also decreased quite a bit in September as the Rox looked to see what they had in younger players, so this might be a clue that there wasn’t an interest in a future investment into his services. But it remains true that Alonso was one of the more valuable hitters on the team when he found himself in the lineup in 2019.