With just a couple of months until the 2018 Blue Jays season (we open the season March 29th. That’s two months on the calendar, 4 years in Tom perceived time.), I thought we’d take a look at the Blue Jays 40-man roster, one at a time, try to figure out where they fit and see what the important question is for each.
First on our list is Anthony Alford.
You all know the story. Picked by the Jays in the 3rd round of the 2012 draft. He ‘fell’ to the 3rd round because he was committed to playing football at Southern Miss. He was a two-sport athlete in high school, winning Mississippi’s Mr. Football and Mr. Baseball awards.
In 2012, he played quarterback for Southern Miss, a pretty big deal for a Freshman. Poor play and personal issues (assault and gun charges can fall under the umbrella of personal issues, right?) cost him his role on the team and he transferred to Ole Miss. There he changed from a quarterback to a safety. Baseball soon became a better option.
Anthony has been working hard to make up for lost time time, and he made it to the majors, playing 4 games for the Blue Jays in 2017, before breaking a bone in his wrist. Life sucks sometimes. When he recovered, they sent him back to Double A.
Anthony had a super minor league season, playing mostly in New Hampshire, with a handful of games in Buffalo and Dunedin, hitting .299/.390/.406 with 5 home runs and 19 steals. This off-season he played in the Mexican Winter League, hitting .352/.386/.505 there, with 8 steals in 26 games. I don’t know that he really has more to prove.
Where does he play this year?
Personally, I’d be shopping Kevin Pillar, trying to get a pitcher, and I’d be handing the center field job to Anthony. Anthony is going to be 24 in July, I think it is time to see if he can do it. He’s a top prospect, let’s not bounce him up and down until he’s no longer a prospect.
And, I’d rather trade Pillar while he has value, instead of waiting until he has no value. I think that Alford is going to have his job at some point, so let’s do it now. Trust that he’s going to be good. Sometimes you just gotta have faith. Pillar’s bWAR has been following a bad trend: 5.2 in 2015, 3.4 in 2016 and 2.8 last year. I’m not sure I’d want to see the next stop in that progression. He’s still a good player, I’d think we could get something for him. I’m worried he’ll have a bad season and not longer have trade value. Of course, Pillar could put it all together this year and make me look stupid.
In reality, Alford is likely to start the season in Buffalo and wait there for an injury.
Will we see him in Toronto?
Oh, of course. At worst he’ll be a September call-up, barring injury. More likely there will be an injury in Toronto and he’ll come up. It’s also possible that the team falls out of the playoff race and they trade off guys to make room for Anthony. But, we will see him at some point.
The better question is ‘will he stay up?’ And the answer is ‘I hope so’.
He is the type of player we say we are wanting for the Blue Jays: Athletic, fast, does more than hit home runs (but I am hoping that some power develops, he’s strong and has a quick bat, home runs should come. And, if not, I still think he’ll be a good player). I’d love us to have someone who would be exciting to watch on the basepaths. Exciting in a different way than Kendrys Morales is exciting on the basepaths, where you are wondering if he will make it to the next base before we fall asleep.
I want Alford to be the top prospect who actually makes it, starting a trend.
Cecilrosa asked ‘who will be the next Blue Jay to get 20 steals?’ I’d love it to be Alford and I’d love it to be this season.