With double-plus speed, a solid-average arm and an instinctual feel for playing the outfield, Alford projects as a plus defender, and his lean, muscled body composition bodes well for his ability to sustain defensive excellence well into his late 20s.Speed, athleticism, and arm strength are the qualities you’d expect would be least affected by the competing demands of a college football career, but his hit tool—the aspect you’d expect would be most affected—is that of a more seasoned, baseball-only guy.With a relatively uncomplicated swing that features a shallow load and a direct bat path, Alford makes consistent, hard line-drive contact to all fields, and possesses an advanced feel for the zone.
It’s not that the raw ingredients weren’t present before the 2015 season (they most definitely were), but rather that Alford simply hadn’t been able to rack up a substantial rep volume, with only 110 minor-league plate appearances to his name over three years.
Then again, Anthony Alford isn’t your average minor leaguer.
The Top Ten DOB: 7/20/1994 Height/Weight: 6’1” 205 lbs Bats/Throws: R/R Drafted/Acquired: Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2012 draft, Petal HS (Petal, MS); signed for $750,000 Previous Ranking(s): NR 2015 Stats: .298/.398/.421, 4 for Single-A Lansing and High-A Dunedin Future Tools: 70 run, 60 hit, 60 glove, 50+ arm Role: 60—First-division center fielder Juggling professional baseball and big-time college football is a helluva lot to ask of a young athlete, and especially of a hitter, whose development is so dependent on the accumulation of in-game reps against live pitching.
This is why Alford’s offensive breakout came as a bit of a surprise.
That’s of little concern, however, as the positive aspects of his offensive profile far outweigh this small blemish.
While challenges still await Alford in the upper minors, he’ll figure prominently in Toronto’s plans at the major-league level as early as the 2017 season.Last Year’s Blue Jays List The State of the System: Almost everyone on the 2015 list either graduated or got dealt.That’s what happens when a team is gunning for its first flag in decades.Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: Alford could be a true fantasy table setter, who might even be more valuable in an one—which is crazy considering how raw he was billed as just a year ago.That said, even if Alford were to change nothing, he has the bat speed needed to make this load peculiarity work.The one aspect of his game that likely won’t reach average is power, as his swing isn’t particularly geared to induce loft.