Heading into the Trade Deadline, a healthy Anthony Alford provides Blue Jays Front Office with options
The heartbreak that Blue Jays outfielder Anthony Alford must have felt on May 23rd. Not only had he picked up his first major league hit, a double off Rob Scahill, but it was revealed that he had also broken a bone in his wrist (hook of the hamate) during that at-bat.
The 23-yr-old Alford’s started his rehab assignment with the Dunedin Blue Jays of the Florida State League on July 12th. As a member of the D-Jays Alford batted just .143 going 3-for-21 in 6 games. He struck out 8 times and didn’t draw a walk, but did manage to steal a base. He was moved up to Double-A New Hampshire to continue his rehab assignment.
July 21st marked Anthony Alford’s return to Double-A New Hampshire of the Eastern League. Prior to his promotion to Toronto, Alford batted .325 with 7 doubles, 3 HR and 9 stolen bases as a member of the Fisher Cats. It may be home-sweet-home for Alford or may be his timing is coming back. In his first game back in New Hampshire Alford went 1-for-4 with double and a walk.
The double and walk were the first of his rehab assignment. The double is encouraging because he can be negatively affected by the wrist injury he sustained. The walk is a big deal because it might be a sign he is getting more comfortable at the plate.
A healthy Anthony Alford raises some questions.
Is he major league ready? (Some questioned whether he was major league ready prior to his injury)
If he isn’t going to get regular at-bats, is Alford better served developing in the minors and playing every day?
Will the Blue Jays Front Office dangle him on the Trade Market to acquire an arm?
Pearce has struggled to stay on the field but he looked good when healthy. After hitting just .167 in April/May, left-handed utility man hit .276 with 4 HR in May (10 GP), .500 in with 1 HR June (9 GP), and .278 with 3 HR in July (16 GP). In the field, Pearce hasn’t looked terrible but hasn’t looked great either.
Bautista is having another down year but is still showing value. He’s been healthy. He gets on base (.338 OBP). With 60+ games remaining, Bautista should easily get to 20 HR, 20 2B, and has an outside chance to drive in 60-70 RBI; however, if he is traded I don’t see him manning RF anymore and could find himself as a bench bat.
Even if Bautista or Pearce are traded, Alford isn’t guaranteed to be the first call up. Dwight Smith Jr. didn’t look out of place during his 12 game audition (.370/.414/.444 with 2 doubles, a walk, and 10 K). Ian Parmley was added to the 40-man roster and his Triple-A numbers suggest he deserves another look.
So you see, Anthony Alford is getting healthy at just the right time. How his wrist performs over the next week (or weeks) will determine where he will be playing in August.
*Featured Image Credit: Buck Davidson- cropped from original UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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