It’s that time of year, where the team here at Jays Journal once again discusses the Toronto Blue Jays Top Prospects. We’ve compiled our Top 20. Basically, we wanted to create the most all-inclusive Blue Jays prospect ranking out there.
So, we took a mixed approach to our rankings. Not only did we take a ranking from each member of our writing staff, but we also figured in the rankings from other publications as well, including MLB.com, Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and Minor League Ball.
At #15 we check in with Centerfielder Anthony Alford.
Name: Anthony Alford
Date of Birth: July 20, 1994
Acquired: Drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 3rd round of the 2012 player draft.
Height/Weight: 6’1″/201 pounds
Awards and Accomplishments:
- Quarterback for Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles
- #10 Prospect in 2013 Jays Journal Prospect List
As you can probably see above, the baseball career of Anthony Alford hasn’t been long-lasting. I specify baseball because, as Alford would tell you, baseball wasn’t his first choice. When scouts approached the potential first-round draft pick ahead of the 2012 draft, most were swayed away by Alford’s unrelenting commitment to his favourite sport, football.
“I pretty much told everyone I was going to play football,” says Alford, thinking back to the moments heading into his draft year.
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While this may have pushed other teams away, the Jays, on the advice of Assistant GM Andrew Tinnish, elected to take a chance on the young quarterback drafting him in the third round. Largely due to the Jays permitting him to play both sports, Alford signed with the Jays for a respectable $750,000.
In view of the fact that Alford has spent the entirety of his pro-baseball career flip-flopping between football and baseball, he has yet to play a full season of pro-ball. Thus, there’s no true barometer for what the kid can do.
However, based on past scouting reports, the Jays could have something special here.
As you can see in the video, Alford’s stance is solid, delightfully quiet. He loads his hands exceptionally into the hitting zone, maximizing his bat speed which will surely manifest real power somewhere in his future. He keeps his shoulder closed and throws the barrel through the ball, demonstrating the ability to hit the ball to all fields. Alford is known for his lightning-like bat-speed and foot speed as his 40-yard dash was clocked at an impressive 4.45 seconds. To put that in perspective, of the 38 running backs invited to the 2013 NFL Combine, Alford’s time would rank third best.
To complete the checklist, Alford is also regarded as a plus outfielder with a plus arm that has only been aided with his experience in the quarterback position. He’s shown the ability both to hit for average and for power with some maturation in the future.
Outlook and ETA
Alford really has it all. When scouts say five-tool talent, they mean players like Alford. Whether or not Alford can realize this potential is another thing. At 20 years old, he has more than enough time to become an everyday centerfielder, pushing Dalton Pompey to right/left, or at least becoming an everyday outfielder himself.
For now, Alford will likely start 2015 in low-A Lansing but, given the Jays recent history of rapid ascension through the minors, who knows where Alford could end up. It’s probable he will spend the bulk of the season in Single-A. At 20, his talents are still quite raw and thus has plenty of time to develop into the player most scouts believe he can be.
Check in at Jays Journal for updates on what could be a transformation year for the young prospect Anthony Alford.