Jays From the Couch continues with our Toronto Blue Jays 2017 Top Prospects list with #2, OF, Anthony Alford
It’s that time of year again! We’re counting down our Toronto Blue Jays Top Prospects for 2017. We’ve selected our Top 15 and will be profiling each one. You are bound to find many of these lists in your travels, which makes for great conversation. The basis for rankings varies even more than the number of lists you’ll find. Some prefer to look at how close to “big league ready” a prospect is, while others look at “stuff” or “tools”.
To construct our list, we have scoured over scouting reports, numbers and a lot more to finalize our 2017 Top Prospects list. Feel free to weigh in on each selection in the comment section! It’s part of the fun!
CHECK OUT THE REST OF OUR 2017 TOP PROSPECTS, INCLUDING HONORABLE MENTIONS HERE
Name: Anthony Alford
Born: July 20, 1994
Drafted: 2012, 3rd rd by Toronto Blue Jays
Height: 6′ 1″
Weight: 215 lbs
When former Blue Jays GM, Alex Anthopoulos convinced Alford to leave football and pursue baseball, he was banking on raw, pure athleticism transferring to the baseball field. And, for the first couple of years, Alford would dabble in baseball, not seeing much opportunity to turn natural talent into baseball player material. Once he made the decision to focus on baseball, though, it has been a steady progression of growth for the soft spoken outfielder.
After a 2014 trip to Australia that had him begin the journey of learning to adapt to baseball, Alford has seen his stock rise in the Blue Jays organization. In fact, 2016 would have been a season where the Mississippi native could have risen rather quickly through the system. But, a knee injury to start the season and an outfield collision later in the year played significant roles in hindering his on-field performance
MLB Pipeline: 2017: #3. Previously ranked #2
|Minors (5 seasons)||Minors||224||998||157||225||45||10||16||87||56||13||133||257||.266||.370||.400||.770|
Outlook for 2017:
Despite having his season interfered with by injury, Alford managed to see an increase in his power game, which resulted in 9 HR. What is interesting is that his 2016 ISO of .144 is right around normal for him. He has shown power in the past, but it has not translated into home runs. That could be due to Alford’s swing lacking in loft, but we should not get too hung up on his HR totals. With some adjustments, that kind of power can come.
So, he’ll look to maintain consistency in 2017. We can expect that he’ll get a look at starting in AA New Hampshire, at the least. While Blue Jays fans might be hoping he can duplicate his 2016 OBP (.338) and improve upon his .234 average so we could see him in Toronto sooner, rather than later, we should not expect the organization to be so quick. They’ll look to see that he can handle the jump from A+ to AA over a period of time before they think about promoting him.
At 22, this would be around the time that we would expect to see a player make strides toward his big league debut. But, we also have to remember that, for Alford, his age doesn’t necessarily reflect his baseball experience. So, there is no need to rush the very talented youngster.
That said, his speed and hitting approach very well could mean that we see him make serious strides this year. The best he can do is start strong, maybe adjust for some power, and he’ll put some pressure on the organization. You can’t keep a guy with .900 OPS potential down for too long.
2018. While we very well could see Alford make his way up to AAA Buffalo in 2017, it would be rather optimistic to expect him to make the step after that. More realistic is the idea that he could be an addition in May of 2018, assuming everything works out for him this season.
Jays From the Couch was lucky enough to have Anthony Alford join the 100th episode of our podcast back in December. HERE IS THE INTERVIEW. As a bonus, you’ll also hear our sit down with Ryan Borucki on that episode!
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.