Toronto Blue Jays skipper John Gibbons had nothing but praise to dish out for his young outfield prospect Anthony Alford after he was reassigned to minor league camp.
The 22-year old Anthony Alford saw action in 15 Grapefruit League games with the Blue Jays batting .188 with six hits in 32 spring at bats. The speedy outfielder had two doubles, a triple, home run and a stolen base to his credit during the spring. Alford will have to work on consistent contact as he struck out 15 times while only walking once in those spring at-bats.
Last time around in 2016 Alford made his spring training debut with the big club and was no doubt overwhelmed and overmatched. The former football player went 1-11 with a single while fanning four times before being reassigned.
Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet spoke with the manager who had this to say about Alford’s impressive spring training efforts this time around:
"I don’t think I ever seen as much improvement in a year in a young kid as I have in him. Because, to be honest, I had my doubts. It’s tough for football players that go strictly to baseball. He always had a great, powerful swing. But last year he didn’t make adjustments in spring training. This year, he just sees the ball better. He’s hit as many rockets down here as anybody in camp. It was really impressive.He played the outfield really well. He’s got a better arm than I thought he had. So, in a year’s time, I’ve seen as much improvement out of him as any kid I’ve ever seen."
Alford battled through a disappointing season riddled with injuries in 2016 limiting him to 96 games at single-A+ (Dunedin). The native of Mississippi slashed a .236/.344/.378 line with 9 home runs and 18 swipes in 24 attempts.
More from Toronto Blue Jays News
- Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays advance to the Championship Series
- Blue Jays: Comparisons for Alek Manoah’s Second Season
- Blue Jays: Adam Cimber, the unlikely decision King
- Toronto Blue Jays: Has the Shift Killed Kevin Gausman’s 2022 Cy Young Hopes?
- Blue Jays: What Yusei Kikuchi’s latest stumble should mean
Baseball America still saw progress in Alford in 2016 as they anointed him the 59th best prospect in baseball on their Top 100 list. Alford will look to improve on that ranking with a healthy 2017 campaign.
There is no questioning the toolsy outfielder has the capabilities to become a 5-tool player with speed and defence highlighting his attributes. Alford just needs reps and lots of them to make up for missed time when he was a two-sport star focusing most his efforts on football.
Here’s hoping Alford gets a healthy blessing from the baseball gods in 2017 and he can build on a successful spring training now that he has peeked the skipper’s interest.