OAKLAND - Yonder Alonso was named an All-Star on Sunday, fitting recognition for a player who this season shed his defense-first reputation and has been one of the American League's top slugging first basemen.
Alonso was the A's lone pick for the American League squad, which was announced in full late Sunday afternoon. No doubt his first All-Star selection holds even more significance for him since the July 11 Midsummer Classic will be played in Miami, where his family settled after they defected from Cuba when he was young. Alonso still makes his offseason home there.
The eight-year veteran, who played for the Reds and Padres before being traded to the A's before the 2016 season, entered Sunday hitting .281 with 17 homers, 38 RBI and an excellent .935 OPS. His production has dipped over the past couple of weeks, but the 17 homers ranked third among AL first basemen and his .377 on-base percentage was second.
Starting late last season, Alonso began incorporating changes into his swing mechanics, including a front leg kick that has helped with his timing and pitch recognition. It's also boosted his power. At the halfway point of the season, Alonso has nearly doubled his previous career high in homers of nine.