Sep/21/12 09:11 AM Filed in: Yonder Alonso
PHOENIX — Yonder Alonso says nothing he learned in the minor leagues prepared him for the day-to-day grind of a major league baseball season.
“The biggest thing you don’t know about before you get here is the everyday pressure of the game,” the Padres' 25-year-old, rookie first baseman said recently.
“You can’t take days off mentally in the major leagues. You can’t hide. If you do, a 1-for-4 becomes a 1-for-27. You have to prepare yourself every day. And I don’t think that’s something you recognize right away.
“I was about half way through this season before I fully understood what I needed to do . . . how I needed to prepare myself mentally. And that’s what it’s all about, mental preparation.
“Nothing in the minors gets you ready for that part. In the minors, no one has a book on you. Here everyone has a book. Eventually, you create a book. About a month into the season, I realized I had to gear up, but I still didn’t realize what that totally meant.”
Although Alonso’s name hasn’t drawn much attention in regards to the National League Rookie of the Year award – Phoenix left-handed starting pitcher Wade Miley, Washington outfielder Bryce Harper, Colorado catcher Wilin Rosario and the Cincinnati infield duo of Todd Frazier and Zach Cozart – Alonso has had a solid season.
Two hits Thursday afternoon gave him a rookie-leading 140 on the season and raised his batting average to .278. He also leads all National League rookies in doubles (35) and walks (58), ranks third in RBI (56) and on-base percentage (.352) and is fifth in extra-base hits (43) and total bases (199).
“Talent only gets you so far,” Alonso said looking back on his first full season.
“This is the most games I’ve ever played. And it’s day after day. I’ve learned you have to separate things. Not dwell on the things that go wrong, stay balanced, even keel. You can’t panic when things aren’t going your way. Eventually good times will come.
“The whole year was tough as a learning experience. But that first month, it was really rough, handling that losing. You can hide things better when you are winning. Things were really going bad early.
“We overcame a lot of things. We’re going to be good. It’s just a matter of time. There’s a lot of good young talent.”