Anthony Alford: Checking in on the Blue Jays Prospect
In the 3rd round of the 2012 draft, the Blue Jays drafted Anthony Alford. His signability was questionable because he was also interested in playing football. However, Blue Jays GM, Alex Anthopoulos would not take “No” for an answer and continued to try and sway him. After declaring his devotion to baseball, Anthony Alford took his talents to The Land Down Under. It is hoped that he can get as many at bats as possible to make up for the time he spent chasing his grid iron dream. In fact, since being drafted, he has collected a whopping 110 plate appearances.
So…how’s he doing? Well, according to the Australian Baseball League’s Canberra Cavalry website, through 12 games, Alford leads the team with 15 runs scored, has the most steals with 3 and is tied for the most homeruns, which is nice, even if it is just one. More on that in a second.
Currently, in 41 at bats, he’s hitting .220 with 1 double, 1 HR, 2 RBI, but 13 total bases. He’s slashing .220/.333/.317/.650. Oddly, his power isn’t really there yet, but his eye is. He’s collected 6 walks for the second most on his team.
Recently, he hit an opposite field inside the park homerun…STANDING UP. Yes, it was assisted by an errant dive/catch attempt, but the outfielder never touched it, so it counts. And, if you’re wondering about his defense, take a look at one of his catches HERE. I’m really hoping that he didn’t take that terrible route because he thinks his speed will compensate. I hope it’s just that he is still learning in center field.
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According to Coast to Coast Prospects, Alford is said to possess great power and a quick line drive swing. A common statement is that he could be a power hitting outfielder. His arm projects to be more of a left fielder than center, but if he progresses quickly, it’ll be his bat that carries him. At least until he develops his fielding skill set.
Again, Alford’s time in Australia has more to do with making up for lost time than actual performance. But, it is good to see that his patience at the plate is there. I would worry more if his patience weren’t there and he were relying on his power alone to carry him. I think it is not out of the realm of possibility that he start the season in Lansing, where he ended his playing time last season, with the possibility of being promoted to Dunedin and maybe beyond. Of course, that all depends on his progress.
And, perhaps his time in Australia will provide him with a little boost in his development; if not for the physical skills, perhaps for the learning opportunity that exists. In a piece by Tyler Maun at MiLB.com (h/t to Jays Journal’s Ryan Mueller for the heads up), Alford describes his progress like so:
"“Having a higher baseball IQ and knowing more about the game,” he said. “It’s deeper than anybody thinks it is. I’ve learned that. From an offensive standpoint, it’s pitch recognition and knowing my strengths and weaknesses and how pitchers and catchers are going to pitch me.”"
*In case you were wondering, another Blue Jays minor leaguer is having success in Australia. L.B. Dantzler is hitting .256/.340/.349/.688 with 4 2B, 11 RBI and just 6 K’s to go with 5 BB.
2B Christian Lopes is hitting .341/.362/.432/.794 with 4 2B, 8 RBI and just ONE strike out.