Blue Jays: Anthony Alford making a statement this spring

SARASOTA, FL- MARCH 09: Anthony Alford
SARASOTA, FL- MARCH 09: Anthony Alford /

Anthony Alford was thought to, by many fans, start the year in the minor leagues and be a major league call up in the middle of the season, however, this spring he’s showing that he might have what it takes to be with the club come opening day.

Toronto Blue Jays prospect Anthony Alford has made a case for himself this month since showing up to Spring Training. He has shown flashes of brilliance and power at the plate. Hitting an average of .333 is not only what he’s done for the team this month, but he also has 4 home runs already this early into the month.

Alford has had some struggles in the past couple of seasons losing about half of his 2017 season to injury, he bounced back and played 125 games last year. Unfortunately, he had a rough year in 2018. Hitting a measly line of .238/.314/.339 in the minor leagues, but he did still see some action in the MLB. 13 games to be exact. And his numbers were a lot worse than when he was in the minors. He hit .105/.190/.105. Yeah not great.

But clearly, last year is behind him. At least so far it has been. Running out of the gates quickly and showing that he has what it takes to hang in the MLB, against MLB pitching, he has done fairly well as mentioned earlier.

With all this success and an outfield that has some questions and potential holes, Alford might have a shot to be with Toronto come the end of March. So let’s look at the competition field.

The Probables

These two players will definitely be on the team. The only reason I’m using the word “Probable” is if there is any injuries to them or anything else that comes up that may prevent them from being on the team on Opening Day.

Kevin Pillar

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Probably the easiest starter to pick, Kevin Pillar has been a mainstay in the Toronto Blue Jays

lineup since 2015 when he became a full-time starter with the team. Pillar has put up pretty decent numbers in his time with Toronto. Nothing too great with the bat, but recently he has shown that he has the potential to be a leadoff caliber hitter.

It’s not his bat that keeps Pillar around tho, it’s his glove. Given the nickname “Superman” it has really been deserved. Making incredible catches for a number of seasons now, Even becoming one of the final candidates to win a couple of Gold Glove Awards. Of course, he never won any because Kevin Kiermaier is also in the American League. But regardless, fans should expect to see Pillar in centre where he has defended it very well for years.

Randal Grichuk

Coming over last year in a trade from the St. Louis Cardinals, Randal Grichuk has been a cause of debate amongst a lot of Blue Jays fans. His stats aren’t exactly astonishing, and a slow start to the year was a mix of ups and downs for the outfielder. Hitting a line of .245/.301/.502, Grichuk has given many fans questions about his play. Sometimes he looks like he has no business playing MLB baseball, and other times he looks like he is a natural ball player.

Either way, Grichuk will be on Toronto next year, mostly due to the fact that he is out of options to the minor leagues and Toronto doesn’t want to give him up too quickly as he is about to hit the prime of his life.

The Maybe’s

The big hole for the Blue Jays is in left field. There will be a competition for it to see who gets the starting role and it’s really between these two players:

Teoscar Hernandez

Coming over in another trade Toronto made, Teoscar Hernandez is another young ballplayer with a ton of potential and, if he gets everything together, could be a really good player for years to come.

Unfortunately, he hasn’t quite gotten it all together just yet. Hitting a line of .239/.302/.468 in 2018, Hernandez has yet to show his ceiling. Hernandez will more than likely be the starter and spend most of the season in left field, but he is still expected to compete for his spot.

Billy McKinney

Billy McKinney came over midway through last season in the J.A. Happ trade and has been a fairly pleasant addition to the team.

McKinney has played in 36 games with the Blue Jays and has done pretty well. Hitting .252/.320/.470 with the Blue Jays so far. Sure it’s not flashy, but he’s only 24-years-old and has plenty of time to develop still.

McKinney will more than likely see a role as the fourth outfielder and fill in for when anyone is struggling. He will have to fight for a starting role on the squad, but I would expect him to be on the roster.

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Alford will have to really impress and show that he has what it takes to stay on the Blue Jays roster on March 28. Charlie Montoyo may decide to keep him around and bring value into 5 outfielders on the squad. But that is less than likely, but Alford is still doing his part to show that he deserves to be in the MLB.