Yonder Alonso was finishing practice on the baseball diamond at the University of Miami eight years ago, when his name was called by the Cincinnati Reds as the seventh player selected in the 2008.
"It was the first time the draft was on TV," Alonso remembered sitting by his cubicle in the clubhouse at Great American Ball Park, his destination on that June day in 2008. Yet it was not the side of the venue Alonso envisioned. He was sitting near the doorway leading to the visiting dugout as a member of the Oakland Athletics.
"It's funny but we had the day off and I watching the Reds' game on TV when they announced the pick(Nick Senzel from the University of Tennessee)," Alonso said. "I enjoyed every minute that I was with the Reds."
Alonso made his Major League debut in 2010; the same year that Joey Votto (Reds #2 pick in 2002) was having his MVP season. Alonso hit .207 in 22 games with the Reds but spent most of that season in Louisville where he hit .296 with 12 home runs.
As a 24-year old Alonso returned to the Reds the second half of the 2011 season after hitting .296 with 12 home runs in Louisville. In his 47 games with the Reds, Alonso hit .330 with five home runs and 15 RBI. The Reds tried desperately to find a place for his bat with Votto holding down firstbase. They put Alonso in leftfield for 14 games and thirdbase one game,but it was clear that he would be a defensive liability anywhere but firstbase.
The Reds traded Alonso along with Edinson Volquez, Brad Boxberger and fellow first rounder from 2010 Yasmain Grandal (also from the U of Miami) for Mat Latos from San Diego.
Alonso battled injuries and hit .273 for the Padre in 2012, .281 in 2013 and .282 last season but has never hit more than nine home runs. He did hit 39 doubles in 2012. In December the Athletics traded Dtew Pomeranz, Jose Torres and Jabari Blash for Alonso and Mark Rzepczynski.
The advice that Alonso would give Nick Senzel and the other Reds' draft picks from Thursday, Friday ans Saturday would be: "Honestly, the journey is just starting. I learned from my teammates and the older players in spring training. Nothing is guaranteed."