With yet another injury last night to OF Darrell Ceciliani, the Toronto Blue Jays have called up top OF prospect Anthony Alford from the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
This season in Toronto has had no shortage of weirdness and injury, and on Friday morning, a new chapter was started in the book of the season. According to Jason Munoz of the Hattiesburg American, the Toronto Blue Jays are bringing up top OF prospect Anthony Alford from Double-A New Hampshire. MLB Trade Rumo(u)rs quickly picked up the news as well.
— MLB Trade Rumors (@mlbtraderumors) May 19, 2017
If MLBTR is reporting on it, that’s good enough to confirmation as one can get. Shi Davidi shed a little more light on the situation:
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) May 19, 2017
Apparently, this has been in the works for a while. With the suspension of Kevin Pillar and the 40-man protection of both Dwight Smith Jr. and Anthony Alford, the worst case scenario here is burning a couple of options, of which the combination of Alford, Smith Jr., and Ceciliani have plenty, so the likelihood of someone eventually getting cut as a result of an outfield logjam is low.
Okay, on to The Man himself.
The Mississippi native was Toronto’s third-round pick in 2012 at 112th overall. He slipped in drafts due to his commitment to play football with Southern Mississippi, eventually transferring to University of Mississippi following an altercation with a teammate. By late 2014, however, Alford was done with college football and would commit to the Blue Jays organization full-time. That winter he played with the Canberra Calvary before playing his first full season as a professional in 2015 with the Dunedin Blue Jays. Alford would be a first-half all-star for Dunedin, but faded in the second half with the remnants of a concussion suffered on June 10th after colliding with a teammate.
Baseball Prospectus has Alford pegged as a likely “average regular outfielder*” with the potential to be above-average. He possesses double-plus speed and above average defense, sometimes taking poor routes but mending his mistakes with his legs. He likely won’t hit for much power due to a line drive swing, but should be able to get on base at a good rate and steal bases at the major-league level. *Don’t worry, that’s still pretty good.
Alford struggled a bit in 2015 with a slash line of .236/.344/.378, but he hit nine HR and drove in 44 that season, swiping 18 bags in 24 attempts. He improved his rate stats in the Arizona Fall League in 2016 as well, slashing .253/.349/.440, homering three times and driving in 15 in only 23 games.
|A+ (||A+ (||Minors||149||656||564||95||148||28||8||12||63||33||12||81||166||.262||.358||.404||.762|
|A (2||A (2||Minors||55||257||213||52||63||15||1||2||19||16||1||39||68||.296||.409||.404||.812|
|Rk (||Rk (||Minors||20||85||69||10||14||2||1||2||5||7||0||13||23||.203||.345||.348||.693|
Catching up to 2017, Alford has been on fire. With the Eastern League’s New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Alford is batting .325 through 33 games and getting on-base at a .411 rate. His power has led to three home runs and he’s driven in 11 run, but this season has shown a huge improvement in his stolen base %, swiping nine of 10 bags safely.
With the call-up, Alford will be skipping Triple-A – at least for now. The Jays OF is in rough shape with the Pillar suspension (ending Saturday), Dalton Pompey‘s concussion, Steve Pearce‘s calf, Darrell Ceciliani‘s shoulder and Ezequiel Carrera‘s mental and defensive mistakes. It’s likely his stay is very temporary, but it might result in sending him down to Triple-A Buffalo rather than back to Double-A. Given the amount of injuries the team has seen in 2017, this might also be temporary as well. It’s also going to be quite fun.
*Fetaured Image Credit: Buck Davidson UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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