Inside the Outfield Part 1: Anthony Alford

In the first installment of the Inside the Outfield series, the future of Anthony Alford is dissected. Is the outfielder going to be part of the team next season?

Anthony Alford has been a member of the Toronto Blue Jays organization since they selected him in the third round of the 2012 MLB Draft.

But because of his history of injuries and missed opportunities, he has a total of 37 big-league plate appearances to his name at the age of 25. But Alford’s position within the Toronto organization remains in question.

He has now spent two full seasons with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons and has nothing more to demonstrate at that level. Through the 749 plate appearances he has at that level, the outfielder has a slash line of .250/.326/.374.

A .700 OPS as a 25-year-old is nothing to hold hopes for, but now the Blue Jays have the open opportunity for a player like Alford to take advantage of.

Should He Stay?

As of right now, the Toronto outfield does not have a player that is going to be here when the team hopes to develop into a playoff contender.

With that in mind, an athletic player like Alford could be given more chances to show what he is capable of in the major leagues. 

The recent numbers don’t necessarily go in his favour. His 95 wRC+ through 76 games for the Bisons this summer demonstrates his below-average offence, an aspect of his game that looked promising not that long ago.

Just two years ago, Alford finished his season with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats with an OPS of .835 and was able to keep a walk-to-strikeout ratio of 0.78, which placed him 13th among batters (min. 200 PA) in the Eastern League.

Since then, his plate discipline has gone downhill, increasing his strikeout percentage and decreasing his walk percentage. Just last season, he held a 29.5 K% and only a 9.7 BB%.

Generally speaking, Alford has shown enough promise in the past that should earn him a spot on this rebuilding Blue Jays team. Especially if next year does not start out exactly as planned.

Should He Go?

It all comes down to context. Whether the team wants to be a successful team in 2020, or have another year of seeing what the young players can do at the major-league level.

If the Blue Jays have the winter of big spending that has been whispered, there will simply be no place for Alford on this team in the future.

Teams that are hoping for some type of playoff position when summer turns into fall, don’t give important at-bats to former prospects that are trying to figure out the top division. 

At any point, it would be understandable if the Blue Jays gave Alford all the opportunities he could handle this September. But if they aren’t giving them to him now, then his time as a potential Toronto outfielder might be over.

The Verdict Is…

With Jonathan Davis playing a majority of late-season games instead of Alford, it’s clear where the front office and coaching staff have the former top prospect. The runway for him to make his mark as a member of the Blue Jays is growing shorter with each game.

The 25-year-old has not had the minor-league production to warrant a hurried call-up to the majors, nor has been much of a factor in his limited time in Toronto.

It comes down to whether the Blue Jays want to progress as a team next season. Next season could become a pivotal year for the Jays.

If Toronto is taking that next step, it will most likely be without Alford.

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Posted: Sep 11 2019 9:31 pm
Filed under: Baseball Sports