Blue Jays Top Prospect Anthony Alford is healthy, victimizing Northeastern League pitchers, and for a September call up
A mid-May promotion for outfield prospect Anthony Alford was expected to be no longer than a game or two. That was until a series of injuries forced the Blue Jays to retain the promising outfielder’s services for longer.
In a perfect world, Alford could have used the extra playing time to springboard himself into a permanent role on the club or at the very least make a good impression which would land him a job in 2018. Unfortunately, Alford joined the list of injured Blue Jays he was filling in for when he fractured his hamate bone located on the wrist.
With a broken wrist, Alford landed on the disabled list on May 24th, 5 days after his promotion. The Mississippi native started his rehab on July 12th with the Dunedin Blue Jays and returned to New Hampshire on July 21st.
A broken hamate bone is not an uncommon baseball injury; however, it isn’t the easiest injury to recover quickly from. It’s not that the bone doesn’t heal, rather, the complications come from lack of wrist strength and irritation from swinging the bat. The injury can affect batters swing and can prevent hitters from hitting for power.
Since returning to the Fisher Cats on July 21st, Toronto’s top outfield prospect has 4 doubles, an HR, and 4 stolen bases. Over the past 24 games, Alford is slashing .304/.418/.392.
The 23-yr-old is riding an 11-game hit streak which includes three 2-hit games. During this time he has seen his batting average rise from .305 to .317.
Two’s a Crowd
The Toronto Blue Jays outfield could get really crowded come September. The Blue Jays are expected to call up newly acquired Teoscar Hernandez up to Toronto. The way Alford is swinging the bat, he is likely to make his return to Toronto. The Blue Jays already have five outfielders on the roster with Steve Pearce, Kevin Pillar, Jose Bautista, Ezequiel Carrera, and Nori Aoki. Not to mention Dwight Smith Jr. deserves to be included in any September call up discussions.
That would make for a very crowded outfield. There simply aren’t enough at-bats to go around.
Where the Blue Jays are in the standings heading into September (and injuries) will dictate the amount of playing time Anthony Alford will receive. The Blue Jays aren’t likely to sit any of their current trio of outfielders for long stretches.
Please don’t even suggest that manager John Gibbons sit Bautista in favor of getting one of the young outfielders playing time. It ain’t going to happen. Gibby and the Front Office respect Bautista too much to disrespect him by benching him for the last month of the season…..so should you.
After batting .236 in 2016 with the Advanced-A Dunedin Blue Jays, Alford’s success in 2017 with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats was refreshing to see. Alford is on a trajectory to earn regular playing in Toronto at some point in 2018 or 2019. The Blue Jays front office is committed to developing their prospects slowly; therefore, I expect them to have Teoscar Hernandez pegged for a major league job before Alford. This means that Alford will likely start 2018 in the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons outfield, getting call ups to fill injuries.
Regardless of when Anthony Alford ‘arrives’ as regular or if he sits on the Toronto bench all of September, it is good to see the talented young outfielder put the wrist injury behind him.
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