The Toronto Blue Jays made a surprise roster move today, as it is being reported that they are going to call-up centrefielder Anthony Alford from the double-A New Hampshire Fishercats for tonight’s game against the Baltimore Orioles.
BREAKING: Former Petal star Anthony Alford has been called up by the Toronto Blue Jays. He will join the team in Baltimore this afternoon.
— Jason Munz (@munzly) May 19, 2017
The twenty-two year old Alford has been absolutely raking this season. In 141 plate appearances over 33 games, he is slashing .325/.411/.455 with an OPS of .867. With nine stolen bases thus far this season, Alford provides speed on the base paths. After a lost 2016 due to injuries, there were some questions as to how Alford would handle the jump to AA New Hampshire, but he clearly has had no issues. He has an advanced approach at the plate and developing power.
Alford’s promotion comes in the wake of the two-game suspension of Kevin Pillar and the subsequent shoulder injury to Darrel Ceciliani, who suffered a partially dislocated shoulder on a home run hit during last night’s 9-0 victory over Atlanta. One would assume that his call-up is just for one game, as Pillar is due to return to the lineup tomorrow.
While some may wonder why the Blue Jays have called up their top upper minors prospect for a single game, with only Dwight Smith Jr., Jose Bautista, and Ezequiel Carrera on the roster, none of whom is a natural centerfielder, Alford makes sense. He is also already on the 40-man roster, so nobody will need to be waived in order to make room for the newest Jay. Also, as he was optioned back in March, the one day call up does nothing to his remaining options.
A former two-sport athlete, Alford abandoned football to pursue baseball full time. He was ranked as the number two Blue Jays prospect by BP preseason and 85th overall on the top 101 list. In the updated Baseball America list (which came out May 11), Alford jumped all the way up to no 34 overall with his strong start.
It’s only for one game, but it should be exciting to watch a top prospect make his debut.
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