Out of minor league options, this could be the last chance for a pair of talented outfielders to make the Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays appear to have their three outfielders set for Opening Day. If the 2020 season were to begin today, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. would start in left-field, Randel Grichuck would start in center-field, and Teoscar Hernandez would start in right-field.
The Blue Jays need a 4th outfield, right?
Enter Derek Fisher, Anthony Alford, Billy McKinney, and Jonathan Davis. Normally, only one of the four would have a chance of making the club. Not this year. With the introduction of the 26-man roster, the Blue Jays have the option of carrying a 5th outfielder.
Fisher and Alford are out of minor league options; therefore, they are the ‘leading’ candidates since no club wants to lose talent. Billy McKinney and Jonathan Davis can be sent to the minors without fear of losing either outfielder. Without minor league options, Fisher and Alford would need to be designated for assignment (DFA) and pass through waivers if the Blue Jays decide not to bring them north for Opening Day.
With a week’s worth of Spring Training games complete, neither Alford or Fisher have put their best foot forward. Management stated they were going to play both outfielders a lot to give them a large sample size to make their decision from.
Anthony Alford looked determined to run his way onto the team with a strong performance in G1 against the New York Yankees. Alford, playing CF in relief of Randy went 1-for-2 with 3SB which included a stolen base of home plate. That one hit is very important, as its been the one and only hit Alford has collected this spring.
The 25-yrs-old Alford went 0-for-3 with 2 strikeouts, 0-for-1 with a strikeout, 0-for-2 with two strikeouts, 0-for-1 with a strikeout, and 0-for-2 with a strikeout. Needless to say, Alford has not looked good at the plate. In 11 at-bats, Anthony Alford has not walked and struck out 8 times for a disappointing .091BA.
The 26-yr-old Fisher started the Spring in LF and went 1-for-2 with a double. Fisher collected another hit in Toronto’s 2nd game of the Spring, leading off and playing LF. He went 0-for-5 over his next two games, striking out twice on February 25th against the Yankees.
Unlike Anthony Alford, Derek Fisher has started every Spring game he has played in. He started in RF against the Phillies on February 29th, going 1-for-2 with a strikeout. With a hit on Saturday, Fisher owns a .250 batting average, zero walks, and three strikeouts.
The Starters in the OF
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. has yet to collect a hit, going 0-for-11 in four games.
Teoscar Hernandez has three hits, a double, a triple, 3 RBI, a walk, two strikeouts, and a stolen base. Teo owns a .273BA in 11 at-bats, 5GP.
Grichuk is batting .200 in 5 games, going 2-for-10 with a pair of runs scored, a double, an RBI, two walks, and a strikeout.
Billy McKinney is having a really good start to his Spring with four hits. McKinney has scored 4 runs while collecting a double and a home run with an RBI, two walks, and two strikeouts in 10 at-bats.
Jonathan Davis has not gotten into a game yet this spring. He’s been spending time with family and the birth of his baby. This is fine since he is a longshot to make the club.
OF Non-Roster Invitees
Forrest Wall has .333BA in 4 games, going 2-for-6 with a run scored, a triple, an RBI, a walk, and a strikeout.
Josh Palacios owns a .100BA in 5 games, going 1-for-10 with a run scored and 4 strikeouts.
Griffin Conine owns a .250 batting average in 3 games, going 1-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts.
Reggie Pruitt owns a .500 batting average in 3 games, going 2-for-4 with a run scored, a home run, a triple, 2RBI, and a strikeout.
Brock Lundquist owns a .667 batting average in 2 games, going 2-for-3 with a run scored, a double, an RBI, and a strikeout.
At this point in the spring, Fisher has clearly shown more than Alford but McKinney has shown more than Fisher. Has McKinney he shown enough for the club to DFA Alford?
Maybe not but I think Alford’s inability to make any contact will force the club’s hand. With just over 3 weeks remaining in Spring Training, there’s still time for Alford to string together some encouraging at-bats but the strikeouts need to stop.
***Update- Alford picked up a triple in three at-bats on Sunday to push his batting average up to .143. Forrest Wall went 2-for-2 with a home run and two runs scored, and an RBI. Wall owns a .500BA this spring. Palacios picked up a a double and 2RBI in one at-bat. McKinney picked up a double in 2AB to drop his batting average to .417.****
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