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Prospect on the Rise: Anthony Alford, OF, Toronto Blue Jays

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Anthony Alford
Anthony Alford

Back in July, we briefly examined Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Anthony Alford, noting his strong start in the Low-A Midwest League (.293/.418/.394 with 12 steals in 13 attempts in 50 games for Lansing) and his then-recent promotion to the High-A Florida State League. We noted:

Midwest League observers were taken with his athleticism but also surprised by unexpected polish. He does have some contact issues and his strikeout rate is rather high, but he's also drawn plenty of walks and seems reasonably selective. He uses his speed remarkably well given his lack of experience and looks to have the tools to play center field.

And he's still just 20 years old.

Alford has excellent tools and his skills are better than expected. If his game power continues to develop we're looking at a player with 20/20 potential

We have more data now, an additional 57 contests for Dunedin. The results: .302/.380/.442, 15 more steals, 28/49 BB/K in 225 at-bats. Overall, between the two levels Alford has a composite season line of .298/.398/.421 with 25 doubles, four homers, 67 walks, 109 strikeouts and 27 steals in 34 attempts, wRC+148.

Alford was a third round pick in 2012. He had the physical tools to be a first rounder but was committed to Southern Mississippi for football. The gridiron didn't work out so he committed fully to baseball this year and the results have been excellent.

As noted earlier, Midwest League observers were surprised by the amount of polish he showed during the spring. He's maintained his production in the difficult Florida State League, even making a 40-point gain in Isolated Power while simultaneously reducing his strikeout rate from 25.9% to 19.2%.

He still has work to do: his defense in center field can be erratic, it remains to be seen how much home run power he will show at the highest levels, and Double-A will test him next year. That said, the physical tools have never been doubted and the baseball skills are all showing a positive trend line. Alford is definitely a prospect on the rise.